By Karen Rainey
AAUW of Ohio Public Policy Chair
Here’s the “ Issue of the Month” plus other news to share with your branches. Please make time on your September meeting agendas to include an update on AAUW concerns.
In this issue:
- Issue of the Month: Charter school reform
- New website with voter information on all judicial candidates
- New website on AAUW-endorsed Issue 1, redistricting reform
- National Voter Registration Day, September 22
- Reminder: Sign up for Two-Minute Activist
- New brochures available
Charter School Reform Needs to Happen Now
Both houses of the General Assembly are due back after their summer recess this month; they need to act in concord to make reform happen. The Senate improved on transparency and accountability issues when it passed House Bill 2, but the House did not agree with the changes before recessing last June. The House needs to concur with the changes or both houses need to appoint a conference committee to iron out their differences. Call your senator and representative to urge their support; you can use the legislative hot line, 1-800-282-0253. For more information on the performance and impact of charter schools, go to www.knowyourcharter.com.
Judicial Votes Count: New Statewide Voter Service
A new statewide voter education web site, www.JudicialVotesCount.org, is live as of September 1. It includes profiles of every judicial candidate in the state, along with a variety of information on what Ohio’s courts do. Why? Because voters frequently pass up voting on judicial races, feeling that they don’t have enough information to make an informed choice. The new site is strictly nonpartisan, and is the product of a partnership of the Supreme Court chief justice, the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron, which houses the web site, the Ohio State Bar Association, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, the Ohio Newspaper Association, and the Ohio Association of Broadcasters.
Redistricting Reform: Fair Districts = Fair Elections
Supporters of Issue 1, the redistricting reform constitutional amendment that will be on November’s ballot, have created a new web site, www.yesforissue1.org, Here you can get the details of the proposal , an explanation of gerrymandering and why it’s so damaging, a list of all endorsers to date (including AAUW), and sign up to volunteer. Because redistricting tends to be an arcane topic, voter education is critical to passage of the amendment. Be sure that you—and your friends and neighbors— are informed of the importance of this amendment.
National Voter Registration Day September 22
AAUW is solidly behind National Voter Registration Day, coming up on September 22, and there are ample resources for getting started on the association web site, www.aauw.org. At the least, please use your Facebook posts and other social media to remind people to register to vote. Anyone needing to update their address can do so on line at the Secretary of State’s web site, www.sos.state.oh.us. And if a voter has been inactive for more than four years, that voter could be purged from the poll books and will need to reregister.
Reminder: Two-Minute Activist
Now—the beginning of the program year—is a good time to solicit your branch members to sign up for the two-minute activist. It’s the easy way to make sure your voice is heard in Congress on the issues that matter to AAUW members. Just go to www.aauw.org/what-we-do/public-policy/two-minuteactivist/ and enter your email address.
New Brochures Available
Both AAUW and AAUW Ohio have brochures available for downloading that outline our public policy program. Use them to inform members and prospective members about our legislative goals.
Questions or comments? Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from Leadership Workshop 2015: Do Your Job Better! Branch Counterpart Focus Day, held Saturday, Aug. 8, at Otterbein University, are posted here. We invite you to use them and share them with your branch leadership.
- Do Your Communications Job Better!
- A PowerPoint covering how to make your website and social media accounts shine — and what resources you can find on the national AAUW website to make that happen.
- Do Your Programming Job Better!
- How to Spice Up Your Branch Programming, available on the AAUW website.
- Do Your Membership Job Better!
- Do Your Public Policy Job Better!
- Do Your Finance Job Better!
- Do Your Leadership Job Better!
Tasks and deadlines to remember
AAUW Tech Trek Camp at Bowling Green State University opened today with three teams of girls learning new STEM skills.
All three groups of girls are pictured below, along with a schedule for today’s activities for the red group just to give you a taste of what the campers will be doing this week.
The AAUW STEM camp built for girls by women is in its third year at Bowling Green State University.
Research shows that women have to be asked seven times before they run for office. This is ask number one.
There’s still time to sign up for the Supreme Court Wrap-Up Call on July 23.
If you missed out on the swag at convention, you can still order it from ShopAAUW!
|2015 AAUW National Convention Workshop Materials|
|Are you wondering what you missed at the 2015 AAUW National Convention? Or are you eager to pass on what you learned? PowerPoint presentations, worksheets, and other materials from many of the 30 convention workshops are available online. Learn from the sessions you missed, and pass on the resources that you found most helpful to others in your branch.|
|Connect with Students on Campus This Fall|
|Does your branch want to get more involved with local colleges and students? Read AAUW’s new guide for engaging with campus programs to learn everything you need to know about your potential role in Elect Her–Campus Women Win, Start Smart salary negotiation workshops, and Campus Action Projects. You can also find out how to connect your branch with alumnae of the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders and support AAUW’s National Student Advisory Council. Use this how-to guide to create more diverse programming, grow your branch, and increase your community impact!|
|Deliver New Title IX Resources to Your Local Schools|
|The U.S. Department of Education just released three sorely needed tools to help Title IX coordinators across the country enforce gender equity in education. AAUW’s how-to guide provides you with links to the tools and everything you need to know about what Title IX coordinators can do to make sure that their schools comply with Title IX. Deliver these tools to your local P–12 schools, colleges, and universities and help AAUW support Title IX coordinators across the country!|
|Share Your Successes in Lead On|
|Do you have a story about an innovative program you are running? How about a successful recruitment effort or steps you have taken to increase diversity and inclusion? These are just some of the types of stories to share through Lead On. Please e-mail email@example.com for a chance to be featured!|
By Karen Rainey
AAUW of Ohio Public Policy Chair
Right up there with the continuing to-do around Common Core is the controversy over the testing that accompanies its implementation. Parents, teachers and administrators have all protested the amount of time spent on the new PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) testing.
Driving the expanded time taken up by testing are new teacher evaluation standards, which rely on the achievement tests to partially measure teacher effectiveness, as well as the greater difficulty of the tests themselves. At stake is $750 million in annual federal education funding tied to testing.
The Ohio General Assembly has taken note and proposed several actions. First among these, the House version of the biennial budget, HB 64, specifically cuts out all funding for PARCC tests ($33 million), leaving the state without funds for federally required testing. Also passing the House by a vote of 92-1 is HB 74, which eliminates PARCC tests in Ohio and limits state achievement tests to three hours per test per year.
Advisory committee recommendations
The Senate is still considering the budget and has not yet acted on HB 74. Concerns with testing, however, led to the creation of a Senate advisory committee made up of legislators and educators from around the state, which reported its recommendations in late April. The committee, headed by Sen. Peggy Lehner, chair of the Senate Education Committee, listed as its top recommendations:
- Testing should be scaled back to once a year and the tests should be shortened.
- Accommodations for children with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) must be improved.
- Test results must be returned in a timely manner to benefit student instruction.
- Test questions and answers must be available shortly after the tests are given to ensure they are aligned with Ohio’s learning standards and are developmentally appropriate.
- Schools must plan to move toward on-line testing and state funding for technology upgrades should be considered.
- A single technology platform is preferable for next year’s tests; improvements are needed to ensure smooth administration.
- A “safe harbor” must be in place that does not penalize students, teachers or schools for the results of this year’s tests. (Note: House Bill 7 has been enacted that provides a safe harbor for students.)
- A comprehensive communications plan must be developed to provide all parties with clearer information about the tests.
Why is AAUW concerned about tests?
AAUW believes, along with other national civil and human rights groups, that data obtained through some standardized tests are important because they are the only available, consistent, and objective source of data about disparities in educational outcomes. These data are used to advocate for greater resource equity in schools and more fair treatment for subgroups, including students of color, low-income students, students with disabilities, and English learners.
In response to the backlash against PARCC, AAUW makes the following points:
- PARCC tests will help ensure all students, regardless of income or family background, have equal access to a world-class education to prepare them for success in college and careers.
- PARCC tests serve students of all achievement levels – advanced, average, and struggling – by identifying where they have areas of need as well as where they are excelling.
- These tests not only evaluate a student’s progress, but show teachers and parents exactly where a student needs help so they are able to personalize instruction to meet individual student needs.
- The PARCC tests serve as an “educational GPS system” for parents and teachers to assess where a student is and to help find the best route to get them ready for the next academic material and for success beyond high school. PARCC assessments let parents and educators know if students are prepared for college and careers.
The PARCC board has heard the criticisms and moved to shorten the tests by 90 minutes next year. The board also agreed to administer the tests not twice but only once during the school year, close to the end of the year. Test sections will also be more uniform in length.
It is hoped that the board’s responsiveness to complaints will allow PARCC to continue to provide Ohio’s tests. Recently, information has come out that Ohio’s students do worse on national assessments than on state testing, implying that state tests have been less challenging and more rigor, as with the PARCC tests, is needed.
Also in the works is a bill introduced in the US Senate by Ohio’s Sen. Sherrod Brown. Titled the SMART Act (Support Making Assessments Reliable and Timely), it would help to streamline and improve testing. It would allow states to eliminate tests that are unnecessary and redundant, and increase the amount of support states and school districts receive to help them align testing materials to college and career-ready standards. The proposed act has been endorsed by the Ohio Education Association and the Ohio Federation of Teachers.
What you can do
So what can you do? Ask your legislators to support fixing, rather than scrapping, the PARCC tests. Use AAUW’s Quick Facts on Common Core Standards as a resource, and use the talking points listed above in your conversation. If you want to sample a PARCC test, go to www.parcconline.org. Find your legislator at www.ohiohouse.gov, and www.ohiosenate.gov. Let me know what the response is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- AAUW Ohio Orbit, Spring 2015 issue, with news of Leadership Workshop 2015
- Public Policy Resources for Branch Programming 2015-16
- Legislative Update: Ohio General Assembly, May 2015
- AAUW Ohio Board of Directors Policy Book: This book is designed to describe duties and responsibilities of officers, chairs, and members of committees; clarify state/branch relationships to prevent inconsistency and improve administration efficiency.
- Policy Book for Branches: The excerpted section of the new AAUW Ohio Policy Book just for branches
- Finance Officers’ Presentation from Convention: Several branch finance officers asked that the counterparts presentation be posted online. The slides are available here in PDF format on the HHL website. You can also find the page from the Programs and Events menu dropdown titled “AAUW Ohio Speaks to Heights-Hillcrest-Lyndhurst.” At convention, the presenters outlined several methods to pay dues to national and Ohio, including by paper or online, and demonstrated the Member Services Database and the Membership Payment Program. National staff members Tremayne Parquet and Jennifer Barton were there and fielded questions. Use the posted slides for review or to look ahead to another presentation planned for the August Leadership Conference. The final slide shows contact information for presenters Patricia Williams, Melissa Marino, Christine Siebeneck, and Nancy Stellhorn.
Resources from Leadership Workshop 2015: Do Your Job Better! Click on the link at left to download resources from this event.
Come and learn how to do your AAUW job better — at Leadership Workshop 2015. We’ll pair you up with your counterparts at the state and branch levels to share best practices, along with resources available from National AAUW.
You’ll have the opportunity to attend two counterpart sessions — one in the morning and one in the afternoon. You’ll also meet with the entire group to learn leadership skills at an afternoon session.
And attendance at this event by one or more members of your branch is a requirement for earning your Starz Award at next year’s Awards Banquet!
Event: Leadership Workshop 2015: Do Your Job Better! Branch Counterpart Focus Day
Date: Saturday, Aug. 8
Times: 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Location: Roush Hall at Otterbein University, 1 South Grove St., Westerville, OH 43081. Get directions.
Cost: $30 per person. Includes a light breakfast and a boxed gluten-free vegetarian lunch.
Theme: Do Your Job Better! Branch Counterpart Focus Day with special sessions for branch leaders — presidents and vice presidents of programming, finance, public policy, membership, communications and leadership.
Resources: We will have WIFI access. Bring your tablet or laptop to use during our sessions.
Registration: Register online. When you complete and submit the registration form available at this link, you will be given the option of paying via PayPal or sending a check to Kaylee Pavel, AAUW Ohio administrator. Further instructions are available via the online registration form.
Questions? If you have questions about the registration process, please contact Kaylee Pavel, AAUW Ohio administrator, at email@example.com
8:30-9 a.m.: Coffee and Convos. Light breakfast treats available.
9-9:15 a.m.: Welcome and introductions.
9:15-10:15: Keynote speaker Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D Kent) on Equal Pay. She has been a strong advocate on women’s issues at the Ohio Statehouse and is planning to introduce an equal pay bill.
10:30-11:30 a.m.: Counterpart Session 1: Select an option
11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Boxed lunch: gluten-free and vegetarian. Northeast District attendees will meet with district coordinator Marilyn Kornawski during this time.
12:30-1:30 p.m.: Counterpart Session 2: Select an option
1:45-2:45 p.m.: Whole Group Leadership Session: Designing Engaging Meetings
2:45-3 p.m.: Closing
Parking: Parking decals are not required during the summertime, and you may park in any parking lot on campus with one exception: Please do not park in the Cowan Hall parking lot located at the corner of College Avenue and S. Grove Street. This lot is reserved for perspective Otterbein students and their families and patrons of Otterbein Summer Theater, many of whom are elderly.
Counterpart sessions will include the following areas and topics:
- Public Policy: AAUW Ohio focus, identifying key issues
- Membership: Recruiting and retaining members, member diversity and inclusion
- Communications: Using technology, building a brand, and dealing with the media
- Programs: Program variety, programming on a budget, mission-based programming
- Finance: Using the Member Services Database (MSD), submitting reports
- Leadership: Using the Member Services Database (MSD), filing requirements, branch goals, leadership succession
Download the resources
Resources from Leadership Workshop 2015 will be posted on this page after the event.
Learn how to do your AAUW job better at Leadership Workshop 2015. Get the details and register online today! http://t.co/IpArNxMgr7
— AAUW Ohio (@AAUWOhio) July 24, 2015