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Senate Bill 5 poll displays less indifference

THOMAS BRADLEY / Campus editor

Many Ohioans changed their stance on Senate Bill 5, but the question hits closer to home when it comes to those going into education.

SB 5 is an overhaul of a collective bargaining law which gave public employees, such as firefighters and teachers, the right to bargain for their wages, hours, working conditions and benefits.

A poll from Quinnipiac University on Sept. 27, found that 51 percent of voters want to repeal the SB 5, against 38 percent that do not want to appeal it. In July, 56 percent of Ohio voters wanted to appeal SB 5, while only 32 percent did not.

Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a press release that the public opinion has changed drastically since July.

“Support for repealing the bill in the November referendum has dropped from a 24-point to a 13-pont margin,” Brown said. “Backers of SB 5 have only six weeks to make up the difference, although public opinion appears to be moving in their direction.”

SB 5 has caused controversy in the state, enough to put the issue up for voters to decide in November.

On March 31, when SB 5 was signed into law by Gov. John Kasich, Kasich said SB 5 is important for Ohio’s economy.

“With some of the highest taxes in the country, Ohio is struggling to create a climate that is attractive to the businesses that create jobs,” Kasich said in the press release in March. “Helping local governments reduce their costs so they can begin lightening Ohio’s tax burden helps us compete better against states that are far friendlier to job-creators.”

Students going into the fields affected by SB 5 have a more personal view of the bill than many Ohioans.

Lindsey Epperly, a fourth-year in human development and family science with a specialization in early childhood education, said she didn’t know a lot about SB 5 but had conversations on it with her parents who are both teachers.

“(SB 5) affects how I feel about my future as an educator,” Epperly said.

With SB 5 in place, Epperly said she doesn’t think she’d want to work in Ohio and has put in an application for Teach For America, opting to work in other states.

“With the union-busting that Gov. Kasich is trying to do, I feel as though it’s going to negatively affect everyone who works for the government because we won’t have protection from administrators, we will be able to be fired for basically no reason,” Epperly said. “There’s not going to be tenure, there won’t be unions to go against salaries if there’s any dispute about salaries.”

Epperly is concerned about limits to collective bargaining rights in SB 5.

Samuel Payler, who graduated in August 2011 with a degree in middle childhood education, said SB 5 initially sounded like a terrible idea but that it doesn’t sound as bad as it did at first after reading up on the bill more.

“I still have major concerns with the implementation of some of the provisions, especially pertaining to performance-based compensation and salaries for teachers,” Payler said. “There’s really no fair and accurate way to measure the performance of a teacher.”

Paylor said SB 5 can take away from a professional environment, and that it could detract from the education.

Jessica Rudolph, a first-year graduate student in math education, first heard about SB 5 as an undergraduate at Ohio State in an educational fraternity.

Rudolph discovered the provision on merit pay, and did not agree with that aspect of SB 5.

“You can’t always measure a class, you can’t measure the motivation level of a student,” Rudolph said.

Rudolph said merit pay would make teachers start to teach toward tests, when in reality, students need to know more than just content. Rudolph said students need to learn strategies and how the information applies to the real world.

“(Teaching is) still a passion of mine,” Rudolph said. “I don’t want to let one bill or one law stop me from doing something that I love.”

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