Saturday, August 20, 2011

Republican Senator Calls for Repeal of SB5

Introduction On August 19, 2011 Republican leaders within the state staged a media event to invite the representatives of We Are Ohio to talk about Issue 2 before the August 30 deadline for withdrawing the referendum of Senate Bill 5 from the ballot that the group successfully achieved by collecting over 1.3 million signatures. Not surprisingly, We Are Ohio declined the invitation saying that the Republican leadership needed to repeal Senate Bill 5 first, before discussions could begin. In a report by Karen Kasler for Ohio Public Radio, Ohio Republican Senator Bill Seitz described how this scenario could play out:

“We [Republicans] repeal [Ohio Senate Bill] 5. They [We Are Ohio] drop the referendum. Both sides are now mutually disarmed. They are back to the status quo ante. And then they agree in a cooperative spirit to move forward because most folks realize the current law is flawed.”
-Ohio Republican Senator Bill Seitz

The Republican Senator’s comments do create a scenario in which both sides could give up something as a sign of good faith to begin constructive discussions. However, this will not return both sides to their original positions. The people of Ohio have overwhelming showed support for the public school teachers, police officers and firefighters that serve the people of Ohio. The people of Ohio want a structure in place for delivering high quality public services--not one that is seriously flawed because it was rushed through the legislative process.

The process utilized to pass Senate Bill 5 did not show respect for the teachers, police officers and firefighters that work hard to educate our children, protect our property and protect our lives. The voices of these public services were not heard or respected when Senate Bill 5 was originally rushed through the legislative process.

Education is a very complicated issue and very emotional because it is essential to our children. Legislation related to a state’s educational system needs to be carefully considered with input from current classroom teachers taken into account throughout the entire process. Education in American has too often suffered from unintended consequences and ill-conceived legislative mandates. More than ever people realize the value of education to our economy and national security. Teachers know what works and what does not because they are the ones working with children in the classroom every day. They will also be the ones responsible for complying with legislative mandates, so legislation needs to have buy-in from teachers. America cannot afford poorly constructed education laws passed by politicians that are not based on input from the teachers themselves. Our nation’s children are too important for that.