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Keep Them Open

Union Wrong In Attempt To Bar Public Access To Teacher Records

If the Ohio Education Association has its way, it will withhold from the public the addresses of those who hold Ohio teaching licenses.

If the teachers’ union succeeds, Ohio parents, who have more of an interest than anyone in the backgrounds of those who teach their children, will be blocked from one of the few avenues to get that information.

In November, the Ohio Republican Party sought the names, addresses and other contact information of all Ohio teachers from the Ohio Department of Education.

The GOP intended to send materials to teachers about its positions on education.

The OEA sued the Education Department in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, trying to prohibit anyone from getting hold of the list.

People understandably are protective of their privacy. But public servants, by virtue of being the employees of the taxpayers, should expect to receive more scrutiny than private-sector workers.

The public that employs and pays government workers has a right to know who they are. That goes double for public servants entrusted with the care of children.

For example, teachers’ addresses are one of the only ways, besides date of birth, to double-check that the John Doe who was arrested for soliciting a prostitute or drug trafficking is the same John Doe who teaches in a local school district.

The OEA rationale for secrecy is that a disgruntled parent or student might find the address and try to commit violence or threaten a teacher.

Such threats should be substantial and well-documented before they come close to overruling taxpayers’ right to know who works for them.–Columbus Dispatch



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