Putting Education Reform To The Test

Why Issue 2 Would Make Ohio Schools More Like Florida

Ohio AFL-CIO / Flickr

A woman protests against Ohio's Senate Bill 5. A referendum called Issue 2 would ratify those changes to public employee pay and collective bargaining rights.

A lot of money and attention is flowing into Ohio’s Issue 2 election Tuesday. If it passes, it would allow Ohio to do a lot of things Florida has already done.

Our friends at StateImpact Ohio have laid out the pros and cons of the referendum, which places limits on how public employees can collectively bargain and makes huge changes in how teachers are paid.

Florida made a lot of these same changes earlier this year with Senate Bill 736. Florida’s reform package and Ohio’s share a family resemblance.

  • Rating teacher performance. Florida’s law requires districts to rate teachers and administrators annually, with half of their score based on student Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. Ohio’s proposal requires that most teachers be evaluated at least once a year and that school boards use the evaluation results to “inform” decisions about pay, non-renewal of employment contracts and termination.
  • No more automatic raises. In Florida, teachers no longer are guaranteed additional pay for advanced degrees. Ohio’s plan would eliminate automatic pay raises based on seniority and substitute performance pay based on a plan that is still being developed.
  • No more tenure. In Florida, new hires no longer enjoy long-term contracts, but instead must be rehired on an annual basis. If it passes, Ohio’s plan would do the same.
  • Requiring educators to contribute more to their pensions. Florida’s teachers took a 3 percent pay cut, supposedly to support their pensions (although the money went back into general revenues.) Ohio’s proposal requires educators to pay at least 15 percent of the cost of their healthcare premiums and contribute 10 percent to their pensions.

One big difference is collective bargaining. Ohio’s plan eliminates the requirement that schools collectively bargain over wages, hours and working conditions and prohibits collective bargaining over maximum class sizes. It also allows a school board to impose a contract on employees when all else fails, and prohibits public employee strikes.

On the other hand, Florida still has collective bargaining — it’s guaranteed in the state constitution. But public employees already cannot strike.

And despite all the efforts of public employee unions and the Florida Education Association, Senate Bill 736 steamrolled through the Florida legislature and became law — although it’s being challenged in court. In Ohio, there’s a good chance their referendum could fail.


  • John

    After looking at the last sentence I am wondering if Scott Finn has taken a recent look at the poll numbers re. Issue 2′s chances in Ohio! Scott wouldn’t be relation to “Checkers” Finn…would he?

  • Scott Finn


    The Quinnipiac poll shows it going down. I’m aware of no public poll showing otherwise.

    • John

      Scott…you didn’t answer the second part of my original post. Are you relation to Checkers Finn?

      • Scott Finn

        No. Neither Chester Finn nor Huckleberry.

        • John


  • Secretweapon09

    Issue would restore the ability to manage a school system by those folks appointed to so by the population. Limiting collective bargaining power to issues of fairness and working conditions is a reasonable approach. In a time of declining property values, future years of student count decking, school systems must be able to make teacher performance a priority. It simply does not make sens for future generations of leaders to be taught by the oldest teachers….new ideas, new blood, new talent will move the student population forward to the future.

  • John

    Help me out,, here, Scott. You advise that you were aware of the Quinnipiac pole re. Issue 2. This pole shows that Issue 2 is headed for defeat in Ohio….yet your last sentence in today’s article states, “there’s a good chance their referendum could fail.” To me, this is contradictory.

    • Scott Finn

      Yes, the poll says the referendum is in trouble, and I write that it may be defeated.

      If you think it should be stronger, i.e. “Issue 2 looks likely to be rejected,” I would say there’s been too little public polling and special elections are too volatile to be so sure…

  • Dave

    2 is done. Now the ahole will take it to just the teachers. Because we all know that teachers are the reason this nation is in dire straights

  • Rach

    If a teacher is not performing well, then they shouldn’t be teaching students at a certain level, if at all. Tenure shouldn’t matter. They’re complaining about having to contribute to their pensions? Oh no! Most of us have to do that anyway. While I’d love to have automatic raises, I don’t. You should get a raise based on your performance, period. Suck it up. This is a non-issue.

  • Anna Suripto

    So many teachers are not competent and still keep their jobs and some are just collecting pay checks while we are in the private business have to work like a mule to get pay less than they make although we have the same education background.

  • Behr1999

    Florida school are terrible very, very poor compared to Ohio.  We surely do not want to copy any of their ideas! 

    • Taj

      Sounds like u r in dire need of a better education based on your response!

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