John Kasich

Liar, liar, pants on fire!

Vote NO on Issue 2

My conservative nature causes me to wince when I call a person a liar but in the case of Issue 2 there are no other words for what is happening. The supporters for Issue 2 have resorted to lies and smear campaigns to keep the legislation on the books that was SB 5.


Lie #1—State workers don’t pay their fair share for benefits

Gov. Kasich constantly says in his commercials that he is merely asking state workers to pay their fair share for benefits. He claims that he is asking state workers to pay 10 to 15% for their health care and retirement benefits. Well, guess what—they already pay that amount. My husband is a retired state worker and has paid into his benefits from the beginning. They also claim that it is unfair state and public workers get pension benefits for life! Yes, they do and should—those benefits aren’t a gift—they are what the workers have paid into instead of social security or a 401K. Considering the current debates nationally over social security, the Republicans should be happy with this because state workers do not get social security.

Lie #2—State workers are paid 43% more

State workers are paid 43% more! That is according to Kasich. REALLY? If that is true I want to know where all that extra money is. It certainly isn’t in our pockets. If public workers receive that much then everyone and his brother would be lined up for state jobs.

Lie #3—“Joe the Teacher” is no ordinary teacher

An ad which appears to be an ordinary teacher has been running in which he praises Issue 2. In reality, “Joe the Teacher” is Kyle Farmer, a self-described “political operative” who is chairman of the Fairfield County GOP. Farmer is not just an ordinary teacher but played a prominent role in Kasich’s 2010 campaign and has political ambitions of his own. It is rumored that he plans to run for the Ohio House of Representatives. Adding insult to injury, the small school district where he lives has already suffered a $330,000 in cuts or nearly 17% over the status quo.

Lie #4—Granny Gate

Perhaps the best example of the lies from this campaign is the now famous Grandma Quinn commercial in which the Vote Yes people took her emotional ad for voting NO, twisted her words, and took them out of context to make it appear she was in favor of Kasich’s SB 5. (See Opponents of “Vote No on Issue 2” stoop to new low—)Compounding this error was Kasich’s arrogant comment that he didn’t see anything wrong with this tactic saying “It is fine” and shifting the blame to his opponents who originally used the commercial.

Be reasonable and support the hard-working middle class

Now Kasich has become the smiling, innocent-looking face urging people to vote “yes” on Issue 2 and appealing to state workers that he is merely asking they pay their fair share. He is pleading for everyone to be “reasonable”. As I previously stated, state workers already pay their fair share so now it looks like it is time for Gov. Kasich to be reasonable.

State workers are not the problem. They are concerned, hard-working individuals who don’t deserve the blame for the economic mess this state is in—neither do the nurses, police, firefighters, or teachers. These are the people who make up the hard-working middle class that is quickly disappearing from the American scene.

This legislation is just another effort to decimate the middle class. The politicians turned their backs on this important segment of society when they passed SB 5. It took away the bargaining powers for unions in their dealings with government employees. Strikes are banned and so is binding arbitration for police and firefighters. In the event of a “stonewall” during negotiations, this bill gives the governing body rights to implement its own last offer, with no recourse for the unions/workers. This sounds dictatorial to me. Would you like to be in a job where you have no say in your pay or working conditions?

Behind the scenes stakes

Much more is at stake with the passage or failure of Issue 2 than just what may happen to government and public employees. It could also have a huge impact on the future of a two-party system in the state of Ohio and Gov. Kasich’s future in politics. When this bill went through the Senate, even Republicans in the Republican controlled senate foresaw problems and the bill narrowly passed by a vote of 17-16, even though they controlled 23 of the 33 seats.

Blind PAC arms of the Republican Party are pumping millions of dollars into the passage of Issue 2. This is seen as not just as an attempt to break the unions but also an attempt to weaken the Democratic Party. Traditionally the Democratic Party has been associated with the workers and the Republican Party has been associated with big business. Many see this campaign to break unions not only here in Ohio but other states as an attempt to weaken the Democratic Party over-all.  Dale Butland, a Columbus-based Democratic consultant, said many see the true motivation of this movement is to defund the Democratic Party and ensure a one-party rule….

Many agree that the world is not the same and changes need to be made. These are tough economic times and sacrifices are needed everywhere. However, when given the opportunity to voice their opinions and voluntarily work with management, the public workers have been very cooperative. They have given up over $1 billion dollars in pay and benefits over the last several years.

Be an educated voter

 Don’t fall for their lies. Let the legislators know that Ohioans are proud, responsible, and well-informed voters. We won’t allow one party or the other to impose heavy-handed, dictatorial measures on the workers of this state. A lot is riding on your vote. Support those who are the backbone of our society and vote NO on Issue 2 tomorrow, November 8.

 NOTE:  This blog post was written several days ago but when I tried to post it to my site the day before Election Day my internet connection mysteriously quit. Before posting I visited my blog site and I attempted to retrieve several articles from the Columbus Dispatch archives to add their links to the bottom of my post to verify facts within this text. During this research process my computer slowed to a stop until I could no longer access the internet. Now, the day of voting, my connection is again mysteriously restored. Polls will be closing within the hour and although it is too late to possibly influence anyone’s vote I am still posting this entry. I feel it contains important information people should know regardless of the outcome of the voting. Was I personally sabotaged and shut down by someone disagreeing with my politics? (It has happened in the past.) Did I pick up a virus from one the sites I visited? Or, was it fate? You be the judge. I will conduct an investigation and if I ever find an answer I will keep you informed. If any other bloggers have had a similar experience I would like to know. We must protect free speech.



The front crossview mirror of a school bus; it...

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In light of the recent controversy regarding teachers and SB 5, governor Kasich and many legislators have agreed to teach in public schools for the next grading period.

They agreed to remain in the classrooms the entire grading period stating, “How hard can it be?” They continued that they look forward to the comfort of leaving work at three o’clock daily so they can catch up on much needed sleep and workout time. When reminded they would have to prepare lesson plans, grade papers, and arrange graphic presentations they said they would refer these duties to their able aides. When reminded they would have no aides or secretaries for paper work and classroom presentations, governor Kasich replied, “Then I will just talk to them all day as I have done on the campaign trail and at Fox News.”

In addition, governor Kasich agreed to take on the extra duty of driving a school bus. Referring to his recent comments that he is driving the bus and you are either on it or you will be run over, Kasich pointed to his excellent driving record. He stated that he drove SB 5 over bumpy roads to adoption and feels navigating a school bus will be no different. When asked about his confrontation with a state highway patrol officer regarding a traffic violation, Kasich stated he felt certain that incident did not disqualify him from driving a bus. As governor he would see to it there were no obstacles ahead.

Many legislators also felt confident and felt no special education or preparation would be necessary for the upcoming task. One lawmaker was overheard to say he spent 12 years in a public classroom and felt he knew all he needed to know about teaching.

A spokesman for the teachers stated, “We are looking forward to an extended spring break. Many of us will be seeking new employment or taking on a second job.” One student commented she was looking forward to the change. “The teachers are wise to our tricks so now we get to educate a whole bunch of newbies.”

An interested parent commented she was looking forward to the experiment. Referring to talk of parents taking over failing schools she said, “I feel certain my son’s school will be in the failing group and then I can take over the system myself. I look forward to seeing that my son has all the additional help he needs, regardless of the other students’ needs. My son is the one who counts,” she said.

When asked about the significance of announcing this plan on April first, Kasich said he saw no correlation between the timing of the announcement and April Fools Day.


"Teacher Appreciation" featured phot...

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Comedian Rodney Dangerfield popularized the phrase, “I get no respect.” If I didn’t know differently, I would think he was a teacher. Teachers are, perhaps, the most overworked and underappreciated portion of the American public.

Teachers’ salaries and benefits have been in the news a lot lately associated with discussions of Senate Bill 5 and Governor John Kasich’s new budget. In Kasich’s effort to balance the budget he is proposing to cut school funding by $1.3 billion over the next two years. Let me repeat that in case you misread it—that is billion—with a B.

Before I go any further let me explain why I am so passionate about this subject. I was a teacher once upon a time. But, unlike a fairy tale, my experience was not a pleasant one. Growing up and all through college, all I ever wanted was to be a teacher. Unlike many college students, I never wavered in my declared major. After graduation I went out to save the world one student at a time armed with my diploma and teaching certificate. I was not naive, I knew it would be a challenge but I thought I was prepared. I knew my subject material and felt I could relate well to students.

Experience showed that, yes, I was prepared to work effectively in the classroom; but what I was not prepared for was the utter lack of respect for my profession from the students, administration, parents, community, and even fellow teachers. The attitude was sink or swim. There was no mentoring from colleagues and no support from the administration. In addition, the general public had the attitude—those who can do; those who can’t, teach. I am ashamed to say I lasted only three years. The pressure was so intense from unruly students, angry parents, demanding administrators and a questioning public that I finally said to myself, “There has to be more to life than this.”

I walked away nearly 40 years ago and although times have changed, I’m afraid the attitude toward teachers has not changed. In fact, I think they have worsened. The new proposals are a witness to that fact. As part of Kasich’s new streamlined government plan he proposes to eliminate all collective bargaining and the ability to strike. There are other goodies thrown in such as:

  • Ending work rules as a topic of collective bargaining, such as length of school day, building assignments, class size, etc.
  • Delaying retirement age from 30 years to 35 years of service and age 60.
  • Lowering retirement payments to 77% of a teacher’s highest five years of salary…down from 88.5% based on 3 years of service.
  • Chopping cost-of-living adjustments for retirees from 3% to 2% with no cost-of-living adjustment the first five years of retirement.
  • Eliminating automatic pay increases for longevity, replacing with merit pay.

These are not all the proposed changes but just a few that jumped out at me. Something else that has been grabbing my attention during all the debates is the news media constantly stressing that currently a teacher’s average salary is now $57,000 for only 182 official working days. Stop teachers on the street and they will all tell you they work way more than the 182 “official” days. In fact, a teacher’s time is rarely entirely his own. After the official work day there is grading papers, preparing next day’s lesson plan, never-ending paperwork, maintaining a pleasant classroom atmosphere, communications with parents, chaperoning extracurricular activities, continuing education in the form of seminars and advanced degrees, and the list goes on and on. So, what on the surface looks like a cushy part time job of only 182 work days per year, becomes a life time of commitment.

Another overlooked fact of a teacher’s life is the amount of money the teacher personally spends for equipment and supplies in her classroom. Many teachers, especially those in elementary schools, spend their own money buying workbooks, art supplies, colorful posters, and other teaching aids. They do whatever it takes to brighten their classroom and the lives of their students—your children. No one ever went into teaching to become rich but to begin taking money out of their pockets is sinful.

I would like to know how many people could last even a week in a classroom room with approximately 30 children or young people constantly demanding your attention and not wanting to learn the lesson at hand. It is emotionally and physically exhausting work.

Another controversial item is merit pay versus automatic pay increases. Merit pay sounds good in the business world but the question is—how do you accurately measure for merit pay? In the business world there is usually a product that can be measured and then charted; but in education it is difficult to really know how much a student is learning. Various tests have been designed to evaluate this but when school districts and teachers know that so much depends on the numbers they produce on the tests, this then leads to teaching only to the test. Students must know X amount of information by the end of the school year so the teacher runs through the text books so all material can be covered; but, this often leaves students behind because there is no time to spend extra days on a particular concept for just a few students. In addition, it cuts out any opportunities to explore new areas brought up in discussions or for field trips. Must cover that material!

Also, when it comes to merit pay, the makeup of schools is never equal. The population of some schools may have many students from disadvantaged homes where they go to bed hungry and don’t feel safe in their own homes. Many today don’t even have homes of their own but are forced to live in shelters or temporary housing. In today’s culturally diverse society many come from non-English speaking homes making learning even more difficult. These students will bring down the overall average of the school or district because they can’t keep up with the progress of other students.

The world of education is not the same as the business world. It cannot be held to the same principals and mode of operation. There are no profit and loss statements or sales figures. There is no tangible manufactured product. Educators pass on knowledge and produce productive citizens. It takes a long time to know whether or not your efforts are successful. Even test results don’t tell the whole story, anyone can memorize a lot of facts and repeat them for a test but how do you know if your students really learned the lessons.

One evening I heard on the news a “brilliant” proposal of how to level the playing field—eliminate the bad teachers and put more students in the classes of the good teachers. This is the most ridiculous idea I have ever heard! It “rewards” the good teachers by increasing their class sizes. And, believe me, class size is important. A teacher is only one person and the more students in a class the less individual time the teacher has with each student. It also means more chaos and more papers to grade. Once again, someone will be pushed aside.

I feel one of the problems we have is too many people from the business world have tried to guide the schools when they know nothing about the educational system. I watched legislators make laws affecting the schools when they knew nothing about them. What was even more sickening was to see them in committee meetings where they were supposed to be listening to experts testify but instead were talking among themselves and walking about the room, plainly ignoring the speakers. The State Board of Education is no different. During my time as lobbyist I was shocked to learn that I don’t think there was any board member with an educational background. So we have legislators and board members creating laws, curriculum, guidelines, etc. with no practical educational experience. It is merely political posturing at the expense of our children and our state’s future.

Something else that annoys me about this whole SB 5 affair is the prevailing attitude that somehow the teachers are guilty of creating the mess within the educational system. It is almost as if society is lumping the teachers in the same category as naughty kids and, therefore, everyone must be punished. Treat teachers as intelligent adults! Robert Davis, lobbyist with the Ohio Education Association, said Kasich can’t blame teachers for Ohio’s budget woes. “Teachers shouldn’t be scapegoats for the state of the economy in Ohio. It feels like swipe after swipe. First and foremost, teachers care about kids, and the job they do is helping students. You look at this budget, which claims to prioritize education, but it cuts education by double digits.”

Another item overlooked by everyone is the schools should not be included in the general budget in the first place. When the state voters approved the lottery it was sold on the idea that proceeds would go to funding the schools. However, as money got tight that fund was raided and school funding landed in the general budget. I was a lobbyist during the debates of DeRolf versus State of Ohio which was a class action suit claiming every student is entitled to an equal and equitable education. I watched in disgust as the Republicans and Democrats squared off and took shots at one another, each trying to escape the blame for the state of the schools and each claiming it had all the answers to our problems. The debates became angry and agitated as they played politics at the expense of our children’s education. The state supreme court ruled that the 611 school systems in Ohio were not equal but every student deserved the opportunity to receive an equal education. After over 20 years of debates, the suit died in committee due to politics. According to findings resulting from the DeRolf case, the schools drastically were in need of better and equal funding then and now, twenty plus years later, we are going to drastically cut funding even more.

I have a suggestion for the governor and legislature—listen to the teachers. Most teachers are reasonable and are concerned with the financial well being of our state as well as their own finances and the needs of their students. Surely a compromise can be worked out if everyone comes to the table with an open mind and respect for each other. The teachers aren’t the bad guys here. They are doing the best they can with the limited resources they have. Don’t restrict those resources even more.

PS—to quote a bumper sticker—if you can read this, thank a teacher.