BOTKINS — Political leaders gathered, Sept. 29, at Botkins Middle School to meet with teachers during a luncheon hosted by Botkins FFA.
The idea for the luncheon came from Chad Berning, Botkins High School agricultural science teacher and FFA adviser.
“I brought you all together to kind of talk one on one,” he said. “You can talk about what you do on your level, and we, as teachers, can talk about what’s going on at our level, so that when education comes across your desk, you know first-hand what we go through.”
Politicians in attendance were Ohio Sen. Matt Huffman, R-Lima, 12th district; Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, 4th district; Tess Elshoff, president of the Ohio State Board of Education; Bob Guillozet, Shelby County commissioner; Randy Purdy, Botkins Village administrator; and Aaron Heilers, a Republican candidate from Anna who is running for the Ohio House of Representatives 84th District.
Teachers from all grades asked questions on many subjects, including testing, gifted teaching training and the hot topic of school deregulation.
Huffman plans to introduce a deregulation bill in the Ohio House, Oct. 9.
“In April, I met with most of the superintendents of the 12th District,” said Huffman. “The topic was what is the state doing that is costing you money, prevents you from running your schools well, teaching well, that takes time away from you, that you don’t think is of value to your students.”
He explained that the bill deregulates many things but maintains certain items that school administrators felt were important and useful.
“Much like in other aspects of your life, when someone comes up with a broad solution, it ends up working for not the whole group,” Huffman said in defense of the bill.
Several teachers asked about the new requirement for general education teachers to have 30 hours of training in gifted teaching. Concerns were raised as to whether this additional training was adding more weight on teachers’ shoulders while saving money by not having to hire teachers dedicated to gifted teaching.
Elshoff defended the move, saying the feedback the State School Board had received was mainly on how the gifted programs were not well-funded enough to be maintained.
“It was a compromise,” she said. “If we prepare all the teachers, then the gifted teachers can still oversee the gifted teaching, but the teachers in the classroom would be better prepared to help with those individuals.”
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