[September 29, 2022] As Ohio continues to contend with an alarming decrease in staffing in its K-12 public schools, educators from around Ohio have come together to take on the problem and offer potential solutions. The Ohio Education Association (OEA) convened the cadre of diverse educators, as part of the National Education Association’s Educator Voice Academy (EVA) program, beginning in January, 2022. The EVA team’s full report, which includes numerous suggestions for Ohio’s elected leaders and OEA, is available here.
“Ohio’s growing teacher recruitment and retention crisis is one of the largest issues of our time,” OEA President Scott DiMauro pointed out. “When excellent educators are feeling that they have no choice but to leave the profession or young people are left feeling that teaching is not a sustainable career option – for a variety of reasons noted in the EVA’s report – Ohio students lose out on crucial opportunities and supports. Ohio’s students can no longer wait for meaningful solutions to this problem.”
Recommendations in the EVA report include:
- Immediately increase Ohio state minimum teacher’s salary to $40,000, and pending approval of a change in OEA Legislative Policy by the OEA Representative Assembly, increase the state minimum salary to $50,000.
- Fully fund the Fair School Funding Plan in the 2023-2025 state biennial budget and provide state support to local school districts with the resources to help fund necessary salary increases.
- Extend Public Service Loan Forgiveness deadlines and expand student loan forgiveness, grants, and scholarship programs to provide meaningful financial relief for those who commit to serving students in our public schools.
- Strengthen educators’ retirement security by supporting a fully funded State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio and repealing the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).
- Remove financial barriers for completion of pre-service requirements for teacher licensure.
- Require the state to complete a comprehensive assessment of the alignment of Ohio’s teacher preparation programs with the realities of PK-12 schools.
- Seek feedback from educators on their working conditions and create systems for school leaders to act on that feedback to make necessary changes to policies, practices, and culture in schools.
- Create and maintain an accessible statewide database of education job openings to facilitate the matching of educators seeking employment with available positions and to provide a reliable source of information for the public to monitor trends in education employment in Ohio.
“It is important to note that the recommendations from the Educator Voice Academy are focused exclusively on issues related to the recruitment and retention of teachers; issues related to the recruitment and retention of education support professionals, including bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and paraprofessionals, among others, is an equally important topic deserving serious consideration as soon as possible,” DiMauro said. “Ohio’s policymakers and school leaders need to take immediate, significant action to ensure our students have all their needs met so they can learn, grow, and thrive in our classrooms. The time to act is now.”