Teachers Union Leader Says Staff Eager For New School Year

Aug 19, 2013

Columbus City School students are heading back to class Wednesday, and the head of the teachers union says her members are energized.

The CEA's Rhonda Johnson says last years investigation into attendance and data manipulation took a toll on teachers.

RJ:  Morale last year was at an all-time low.  Not one single teacher was involved in what happened to the data.  Not one.  But it still doesn't make you feel good about working in the school district.

Johnson says she's encouraged by efforts the district is making to implement some of the recommendations of the Columbus Education Commission, the mayor's coalition of education, business and community leaders. And she thinks the district's decision to save nearly 2 million dollars by eliminating some administrative positions is a step in the right direction.

RJ: If you're working in the trenches, you really don't have much patience for  a lot of bureaucracy.  If you're a classroom teacher, you want the support in the classroom for you and for your students, as opposed to having, you know, this huge bureaucracy  in all of these central office positions,.  that was one of the recommendations of the Education Commission and  also from the operations review: how do we shrink the Central Office administration? 

Johnson says teachers are facing a new challenge this year with the implementation of the Common Core curriculum, which will require more professional development. A portion of the district's 9-point-0.1 mil levy would be dedicated to teacher training and retention.