Monday, March 28, 2011

Senate Bill 5 Will Not Work to Solve State's Many Ails

This letter to the editor appeared in the Upper Arlington Suburban News Publication on Wednesday, March 23, 2011. It was written by Joe Endres an outstanding social studies teacher at Upper Arlington High School

"I am a social studies teacher at Upper Arlington High School, the son and grandson of Ohio public school teachers and a UAHS graduate. I am firmly invested in education and this community's continued success. I love teaching.

UA citizens must be aware that Senate Bill 5 threatens to significantly reduce the incentives necessary to attract highly qualified educators and diminish the school environment. Pension is deferred compensation and health care benefits were offered in lieu of salary increases.

Funding for these benefits is deducted from teachers' salaries. Teachers are compensated less than those in the private sector, even when adjusted for educational level and hours worked. Teachers work evenings, weekends and summers doing grading, instructional preparation and professional development.

Throughout our district, teachers are already planning to leave. It's a matter of simple economics: Some teachers will not be able to take care of their families.

Supporters of Senate Bill 5 claim that it will reduce Ohio's $8 billion deficit. Senate Bill 5 will only reduce the state budget by $200 million and will significantly reduce middle-class spending. It won't work. Senate Bill 5 legislates evaluating teachers based on standardized test scores and value-added formulas that are not valid or reliable.

Education is a public good. Replacing our current system with free market principles will not work. Senate Bill 5 offers no constructive plan for education, other than to decimate the current system.

No child will profit from Senate Bill 5. It threatens to harm school systems, property values and the lives of public employees.

An equitable public education system powered by intelligent and caring teachers is the foundation of a strong republic. I have dedicated my life to this profession and this community. I am fearful. What will happen to UA when there is an exodus of irreplaceably great teachers? Do not underestimate what is at stake: Senate Bill 5 will harm UA and devastate Ohio.

The Upper Arlington Education Association works for everybody! I urge everyone to research Senate Bill 5 and communicate with elected officials and the school board."

Joe Endres

Senate Bill 5 Will Not Work to Solve State's Many Ails