Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper discussed issues with standardized testing, limiting new private school vouchers and more educational topics on the Sept. 15 episode of America’s Work Force Union Podcast.
Remote learning and standardized testing
Every spring, students are mandated to take a set of standardized tests as a way to measure the performance of the school, as well as the teacher and students performance. These tests were waived last year due to COVID-19. This year these tests are expected to resume, despite the challenges of remote learning.
Cropper said educators need to be advocating and lobbying against standardized testing for this school year.
While the testing is very important to track the progress being made by students and schools, these unprecedented times have called for alternative actions.
DeVos pushing for vouchers
Cropper said Betsy DeVos, U.S. Secretary of Education, and the Trump administration are using this issue to push the usage of private school vouchers. These standardized tests are used to make judgments about districts and the unusual circumstances can lead to more vouchers and tax dollars funneling to private schools.
Ohio Senate Bill 358
Cropper then talked about Senate Bill 358, an Ohio piece of legislation seeking to waive requirements of testing once again. She said it is a good bill that shows the understanding of the times we are facing.
The only problem Cropper sees with the bill is that it could open up more opportunities for vouchers. Within the bill is provisions to provide more private school vouchers to students who would not typically get them.
Finally, Cropper said teacher evaluation is important to public schools, but current times are not fair to teachers. She said teachers are having to learn on the fly how to best educate students remotely.