Posted on 01/06/14 by in Music Education
(orig. date 11/13/2014, rev. 01/06/2015)
If you live in Ohio, you may have heard that the Operating Standards Committee of the State Board of Education recently voted to allow local school boards to make their own decisions as to the specialized support staff positions in public schools. The Music Settlement is against this idea and urges you to write the committee members.
OAKAR: IN OUR CORNER
WHAT CAN WE DO?
The State Board of Education is responsible for creating and updating the operating standards for schools in Ohio. Every five years, they are mandated to review standards required at the state level for local school districts.
Right now, the standards require that "A minimum of five full-time equivalent educational service personnel shall be employed district-wide for each one thousand students in the regular student population as defined in section 3317.023 of the Revised Code. Educational service personnel shall be assigned to at least five of the eight following areas: counselor, library media specialist, school nurse, visiting teacher, social worker and elementary art, music and physical education. Educational service personnel assigned to elementary art, music and physical education shall hold the special teaching certificate or multi-age license in the subject to which they are assigned. School districts receiving the school nurse wellness coordinator factor and school district health professional factor funds pursuant to section 3306.06 of the Revised Code shall give preference to hiring licensed school nurses." (see it here)
This week, in a four to three vote, the Operating Standards Committee voted to kill the above rule. The vote will now go to the State Board of Education representatives and will occur on either Dec. 7 or 8 (no agenda has been posted yet).
OAKAR: IN OUR CORNER
Mary Rose Oakar is the district representative for 2/3 of Cuyahoga County and 1/3 of Lake County. I spoke with her today. Our conversation began on a great note: not only does she hold a Master's of Arts degree, but she used to attend classes at The Music Settlement! She confirmed that she is on the side of mandating that the school districts must retain 5 FTE educational equivalent personnel and was happy to hear that we want to make sure that these standards remain law.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
- Representative Oakar suggested that we email every member of the State Board of Education.
- Postal mail is not recommended, as most of the representatives don't have office staff and as such, aren't as likely to keep up with mail.
- She said that phone calls are great, too, but it can be difficult to get through to their offices.
- While you can email the representatives at any time, she suggested that large volumes of email in the days immediately leading up votes would have the most impact.
- If you're on Twitter, share a link to this post and be sure to include the hashtag: #Ohio5of8
USE THE DATA
Remember, these are people who respond to hard data. So, saying you want to keep trained music, art, and PE teachers as well as counselors and librarians and school nurses is OK, but backing it up with 1) personal stories about why it would make a difference to your child and 2) backing that up with HARD DATA about how children do better in school when their curriculum includes fine arts will be more likely to sway the representatives in our favor.
The Music Settlement employs many faculty who are music educators in local schools. These are amazing, dedicated people. Keep them employed, and keep children's access to the arts in their classrooms. Many studies show that children who have a foundation in the arts do better in school:
Here are convenient links to the email addresses of the Chair of the State Board of Education, and the voted and at-large members. Please note that many new members now sit on the Board, so this list has been updated to reflect that. Additionally, the Operating Standards Committee "is no longer meeting as the rules have be voted out of Committee. [sic bold] The rules are now before the full State Board of Education."
Remeber: EMAIL IS BEST.
Ron Rudduck (Wilmington, District 10)
Sarah Fowler (Rock Creek, District 7)
Mike Collins (Westerville, District 6)
Stephanie Dodd (Hebron, District 9)
Tess Elshoff (At-large)
Roslyn Painter-Goffi (Strongsville, District 5 -- no email)
Kathleen McGervey (Avon, District 2)
Pat Bruns (Cincinnati, District 4-- no email)
Thanks in advance for your support & effort!