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Putting the Joy Back in the Classroom

PHOTO: Ohio educators are among those at the National Education Association Representative Assembly this week. Matters on this year's agenda include school funding, standardized testing and Common Core Standards. Photo credit: Ben W/Flickr.
PHOTO: Ohio educators are among those at the National Education Association Representative Assembly this week. Matters on this year's agenda include school funding, standardized testing and Common Core Standards. Photo credit: Ben W/Flickr.
June 26, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Common Core standards, standardized testing and school funding are among the top issues in discussion at a meeting of the minds of education leaders this week.

Becky Higgins, president of the Ohio Education Association, is joining other educators at the National Education Association's 94th Representative Assembly in Florida. Higgins said she's looking forward to addressing a shared concern among states: the over-testing of students

"I hear from too many educators and students and parents that there's so much time taken away from instruction, teaching and learning," she said, "and so we want to work together to see how we can change that and put the joy back in the classroom."

As they debate the two-year state budget due next week, Ohio lawmakers are proposing shorter assessments and modified guidelines for which a teacher or student would face a poor evaluation or retention as a result of low scores.

Assembly members will set policy priorities for the coming year. Higgins said ehe expects a discussion on school funding because teachers lack the adequate tools and resources required for learning.

"Teachers take money out of their own pocket each and every year to help provide their students with things that they need," she said, "and it's not because school districts don't want to give the money. It's because, most of the time, they don't have the money to give."

Higgins added that Ohio's teachers are dedicated to ensuring that every student can be successful.

"I just think it's remarkable, especially in these times that we're living in, with testing and adapting to new standards," she said. "Every day they go into their classroom, no matter what's happening, they are giving their best to their students."

Nearly 9,000 educators from around the country are at the assembly in Orlando.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH