Get Updates via Email

In Teaching Experience Counts, Studies Find

Much of the impetus for new teacher evaluation systems has been based upon the belief that teaching experience is less important than demonstrating competence via student test scores. This belief has become popular among corporate reformers for providing a potential mechanism to remove older more expensive teachers and replace them with cheaper less experienced teachers.

We have published hundreds of articles and studies here at Join the Future pointing out the dangers of relying upon student test scores for the purposes of evaluating teacher quality. Study after study has found the measures to be unreliable and unfair. Worse, it exploded that amount of testing students are having to needlessly endure, and sapped the morale of educators dealing with an unfair system to the point where an exodus of talented educators form the profession is real and happening.

Now comes evidence that the premise itself, that experience doesn't add to quality over time, is fatally flawed.

The evidence comes in the form of 2 new studies. The first in a paper published by Harvard, titled Productivity Returns to Experience in the Teacher Labor Market: Methodological Challenges and New Evidence on Long-Term Career Improvement, the researchers conclude
We find consistent evidence across models that teachers improve most rapidly during their first several years on the job but also continue to improve their ability to raise student test scores beyond the first five years of their careers. This directly contradicts the standard policy conclusion that teachers do not improve after the first three to five years of their career. Finally, we find suggestive evidence across multiple modeling approaches that teachers continue to improve even later in their careers, particularly in mathematics.
The second in a working paper, published by the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER), titled RETURNS TO TEACHER EXPERIENCE: STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT AND MOTIVATION IN MIDDLE SCHOOL, the author finds
We use rich longitudinally matched administrative data on students and teachers in North Carolina to examine the patterns of differential effectiveness by teachers’ years of experience. The paper contributes to the literature by focusing on middle school teachers and by extending the analysis to student outcomes beyond test scores. Once we control statistically for the quality of individual teachers by the use of teacher fixed effects, we find large returns to experience for middle school teachers in the form both of higher test scores and improvements in student behavior, with the clearest behavioral effects emerging for reductions in student absenteeism. Moreover these returns extend well beyond the first few years of teaching. The paper contributes to policy debates by documenting that teachers can and do learn on the job.
These findings should come as no surprise. The claims that experience don't count beyond the first few years was always a spurious argument, running counter to most people's own working life experience and observations.

It is past time to discard corporate education policies designed to cheapen public education, and instead embrace quality through team working, professionalization, and ongoing career training

Governor Kasich’s Tax Shift Plan Lacks Voter Support

Via One Ohio Now

Governor Kasich’s recently proposed tax shift is only supported by a quarter of Ohio voters, with support dropping and opposition increasing significantly once plan specifics are divulged. Opposition is broadest and most intense when voters learn how different the bottom three-fifths and wealthiest one percent would be treated by the plan. Resistance to the plan is also fueled, in part, by voters’ fundamental opposition to both tax shifts and cutting state income taxes for the wealthiest Ohioans. Key findings from Global Strategy Group’s recent poll of 504 registered Ohio voters are as follows:

A plurality of voters oppose the tax shift plan initially. When only provided with a brief overview of Governor Kasich’s plan – increasing the state sales tax while cutting the state income tax – a plurality of Ohioans (44%) reject the plan, while only one-quarter of Ohioans (26%) support it. An additional three-inten (31%) say they do not know enough to answer initially.

Resistance to the tax shift increases dramatically once plan specifics and implications are detailed. Opposition soars (jumping 28 points to 72% oppose) when voters learn that under the tax shift plan the bottom three-fifths of taxpayers as a group would actually see an increase in their state and local taxes while the wealthiest one percent of Ohio’s households would receive the largest tax cut. Only one-fifth of voters remain supportive of the plan (18%) after the lopsided impact of the shift is revealed.
  • A majority of Democrats (80%), Independents (64%) and Republicans (65%) oppose the plan after hearing this information.
  • Opposition exists across political ideologies, with liberals (82%), moderates (75%), and conservatives (65%) all opposing the plan.
  • Even a majority of Ohioans with household incomes over $80,000 a year oppose the plan by a wide margin (64% oppose/27% support).
Voters do not support the policy behind the tax shift. When asked about the idea of paying for a reduction in state income taxes with an increase in the state sales tax, three-fifths of voters (62%) say they oppose the idea including majorities across political parties and ideologies, while only 27% are supportive.

Instead, Ohioans want to see taxes increased on the wealthy. Voters are clear in their rejection of the proposal’s heavy tax cuts for the wealthiest Ohioans, as three-fourths of voters (74%) believe Ohio should increase taxes on the wealthiest Ohioans and profitable businesses to ensure they pay their fair share. Only 16% said they would like to see taxes cut for the wealthiest Ohioans and profitable corporations.

And voters would rather see investment in public services than a reduction in the personal income tax rate. When presented with a variety of statements suggesting investment in various state services like public health, education, and public safety over a personal income tax cut, voters agree with all of them.

69% of Voters would rather invest in Ohio’s public schools than cut state income taxes.

All statements receive majority agreement across political party and ideology.

May 2015 School levies and issues

Just 102 school levies and issues will appear on the May 5h ballot this year. This is significantly down from 2014 (149) and 2013 (141). About one third of the requests are for new money.

The table below lists all the issues and levies that will appear on ballots. When you vote, we urge all the supporters of Join the Future to consider supporting their local schools.

County District Type Description
Allen Elida Local School District Levy Renewal
Ashland Hillsdale Local School District Levy Renewal
Ashtabula Grand Valley Local School District Levy Renewal
Auglaize New Bremen Local School District Levy Renewal
Belmont Shadyside Local School District Levy Renewal
Belmont Shadyside Local School District Levy Renewal
Butler Edgewood City School District Levy Substitute
Carroll Brown Local School District Levy Renewal
Clark Northeastern Local School District Income Tax Additional
Clark Springfield City School District Levy Renewal
Coshocton Coshocton County Joint Vocational School District Levy Additional
Crawford Crestline Exempted Village School District Income Tax Additional
Crawford Wynford Local School District Levy Renewal
Crawford Wynford Local School District Levy Renewal
Cuyahoga Brooklyn City School District Levy Renewal
Cuyahoga Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District Levy Additional
Cuyahoga Garfield Heights City School District Levy Renewal
Cuyahoga Warrensville Heights City School District Levy Renewal
Cuyahoga Westlake City School District Levy Additional
Darke Ansonia Local School District Levy Renewal
Defiance Ayersville Local School District Combo Additional
Delaware Big Walnut Local School District Levy Substitute
Fairfield Walnut Township Local School District Levy Additional
Fayette Miami Trace Local School District Combo Additional
Geauga Kenston Local School District Combo Additional
Geauga West Geauga Local School District Levy Renewal
Greene Beavercreek City School District Levy Renewal
Greene Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Local School District Levy Replacement
Greene Xenia Community City School District Levy Renewal
Greene Xenia Community City School District Income Tax Renewal
Greene Yellow Springs Exempted Village School District Levy Renewal
Hamilton Lockland Local School District Levy Additional
Hamilton Northwest Local School District Combo Additional
Hamilton Winton Woods City School District Bond N/A
Hancock Arcadia Local School District Levy Renewal
Hancock McComb Local School District Levy Renewal
Hardin Ridgemont Local School District Income Tax Renewal
Henry Patrick Henry Local School District Levy Renewal
Huron Monroeville Local School District Levy Additional
Knox Mount Vernon City School District Levy Renewal
Lake Lake County School Financing District Levy Renewal
Licking Heath City School District Levy Renewal
Licking North Fork Local School District Income Tax Renewal
Licking Southwest Licking Local School District Levy Renewal
Lorain Avon Local School District Levy Additional
Lorain Clearview Local School District Levy Renewal
Lorain Columbia Local School District Levy Renewal
Lorain Columbia Local School District Levy Renewal
Lorain Firelands Local School District Levy Renewal
Lorain Keystone Local School District Levy Additional
Lorain Sheffield-Sheffield Lake City School District Levy Additional
Lucas Springfield Local School District Levy Additional
Mahoning South Range Local School District Levy Additional
Marion River Valley Local School District Levy Additional
Medina Cloverleaf Local School District Levy Renewal
Mercer Celina City School District Levy Renewal
Mercer Parkway Local School District Income Tax Renewal
Miami Bethel Local School District Income Tax Renewal
Miami Tipp City Exempted Village School District Levy Additional
Miami Troy City School District Levy Renewal
Montgomery Brookville Local School District - I Levy Renewal
Montgomery Brookville Local School District - II Levy Renewal
Montgomery Kettering City School District Levy Renewal
Montgomery Northridge Local School District Combo Additional
Montgomery Valley View Local School District Income Tax Renewal
Montgomery Valley View Local School District Income Tax Renewal
Ottawa Genoa Area Local School District Levy Renewal
Ottawa Genoa Area Local School District Levy Additional
Pickaway Logan Elm Local School District Levy Renewal
Pickaway Logan Elm Local School District Income Tax Renewal
Portage Aurora City School District Levy Renewal
Portage Crestwood Local School District Levy Renewal
Ross Zane Trace Local School District Income Tax Additional
Sandusky Woodmore Local School District Levy Renewal
Sandusky Woodmore Local School District Income Tax Additional
Seneca Seneca East Local School District Income Tax Renewal
Shelby Jackson Center Local School District Levy Renewal
Stark Fairless Local School District Levy Additional
Stark Lake Local School District Combo Additional
Summit Coventry Local School District Levy Renewal
Summit Manchester Local School District Levy Renewal
Summit Manchester Local School District Levy Renewal
Summit Mogadore Local School District Levy Additional
Summit Stow-Munroe Falls City School District Levy Renewal
Trumbull Hubbard Exempted Village School District Levy Renewal
Trumbull Lakeview Local School District Combo Additional
Trumbull Liberty Local School District Levy Renewal
Trumbull Lordstown Local School District Levy Renewal
Trumbull Lordstown Local School District Levy Renewal
Trumbull Maplewood Local School District Levy Renewal
Trumbull Newton Falls Exempted Village School District Levy Renewal
Warren Kings Local School District Levy Renewal
Warren Warren County Joint Vocational School District Levy Replacement
Wayne Norwayne Local School District Levy Renewal
Wayne Orrville City School District Levy Renewal
Wayne Rittman Exempted Village School District Levy Renewal
Wayne Southeast Local School District Bond N/A
Williams Edon Northwest Local School District Income Tax Additional
Wood Bowling Green City School District Levy Renewal
Wood Bowling Green City School District Levy Renewal
Wood North Baltimore Local School District Income Tax Renewal
Wood Rossford Exempted Village School District Levy Additional

Thorough and Efficient Clause Saved From Chopping Block

A sub committee of the Ohio Modernization commission voted unanimously to retain the "thorough and efficient system of common schools" clause in the Ohio constitution, and not propose that voters consider removing it. This clause had been the bedrock upon which the Derolph funding case was litigated. It continues to be critical for maintaining a constitutional framework for the state to provide an thorough and efficient education system.

There was a lot of pressure to remove this clause from the constitution, led by the chair of the committee
The phrase in the Ohio Constitution that requires the state to provide an adequate system of public schools would be stricken from the document if the head of a constitutional modernization subcommittee has his way.

Chairman Chad Readler, a Columbus attorney who leads the Constitutional Modernization Commission’s schools and local government committee, wants to remove the phrase “thorough and efficient” from Article VI of the Constitution.

Readler, who is actively involved in the privately run charter school movement, is among 32 Ohio community leaders and legislators looking at ways to modernize the Constitution for recommendations to the legislature. Readler was selected by House leadership to run the subcommittee.
This is a big win for students, and a blow for profiteers and privatizers.

Herculean Efforts By Educators To Mitigate PARCC Catastrophe

Ohio's new standardized tests have been criticized on a number of fronts. Questions about them being developmentally appropriate, results not being available for months, the length of time it takes to administer the tests, the implementation costs, and the technology deficiencies and failures.

The Dispatch reported on the latter set of problems, and they appear to have been widespread, and astronomical in number

Pearson, the testing company that created the state’s new Common Core-aligned English/language arts and math exams, has fielded roughly 9,600 phone calls, emails and chats from Ohio districts since testing started on Feb. 16.

Most of the queries — 86 percent — were related to problems with administering the test, including registering students, getting them into online test sessions and responding to test policies and procedures such as make-up testing.
To understand the full extent of the technology problems PARCC faces, those 10,000 calls must be put in context.

First, only 60% of Ohio's schools administered PARCC online, the rest chose to use paper and pencil. We can only assume that those 40% were the least prepared or capable of offering online testing as a solution this year. how many calls would have been made to Pearson if those schools had had to perform their testing online? How many of those 250 or so school districts will be ready next year?

Secondly, many of the problems we addressed in-house by district staff

Some educators think the number of glitches actually is larger. District technology staffers often turned to one another instead of waiting for a response from a help line answered by the state and Pearson.
No doubt the wait times were lengthy given the sheer volume of problems being experienced.

Nor do these numbers reflect the insane amount of effort districts went to in order to try and mitigate problems before they occurred

The transition at Grandview Heights went seamlessly for students, thanks to nearly 1,000 hours of planning and preparation by staff members, said Jamie Lusher, the district’s chief academic officer. The district tested 780 students.
That's over 1 hour per students, a pattern repeated elsewhere
Bexley schools purposely delayed testing by a week so that any glitches found early would be resolved by the time the district’s students logged in for their exams, Ross said. Also, the district’s technology department spent more than 200 hours preparing devices and planning for administration of the tests. Only 332 high-school students took the exam online; the rest used paper and pencil.
Almost 3 hours preparation per student!

It simply shouldn't be a requirement that Herculean efforts be needed in order to avoid an epic catastrophe. how can you have a high stakes system under these conditions
“If you have a classroom with three to five technical issues and you may have to reset the device, that’s not closing it up and starting it back up again,” said Paul Ross, technology director at Bexley schools. “With some of those device issues, you have to reinstall the test application on the fly. We’re talking about a disruption occurring while testing.”

That has to be solved quickly, he said, or students will have to make up the test.
This years' testing results ought to be treated as a test run, it would be grossly unfair to judge educators and schools on the basis of a product that is barely functional.

The Ohio Education Association Says Changes to Current Testing Mandates Are Urgently Needed

Ohio Education Association (OEA) President Becky Higgins today urged members of the Ohio Senate Education Committee to reduce the amount of time being spent preparing for and taking tests, and to extend to 3 years a moratorium on high-stakes decisions based on student test scores. A complete copy of her testimony is attached.

Higgins said current testing measures are flawed. “Teachers are beyond frustrated with the increasing amount of time spent on testing and the way it has crowded out time needed to teach and engage students in dynamic ways. They tell me about the anxiety felt by their students and the growing number of parents who are considering having their children ‘opt out’ of tests. There is a fundamental imbalance that needs to be corrected.”

In her testimony, Higgins proposed four steps that policymakers could take to bring about much-needed change:

“First, reduce the amount of time spent on testing,” said Higgins. “There is too much time devoted to testing. It’s crowding out time for teaching and learning, limiting student engagement and narrowing our curriculum. The disproportionate time spent on testing is being felt by students, parents and educators. It’s time to focus more clearly on our students and their needs.”

“Second, address problems with the tests. The transition to the new tests, including PARCC, is producing mixed results at best,” said Higgins. “A myriad of issues have been raised including technology, lack of timely guidance, tests not properly aligned to standards, age appropriateness of tests, insufficient accommodations for special education students and a lack of timely results from the assessment. These problems must be fixed.”

“Third, use the data appropriately to focus on helping students. Timely data from testing should be used to inform instruction, advance student learning and promote the growth of educators in their practice. It is not appropriate to tie high-stakes decisions to testing results,” testified Higgins.

“And finally, allow time to get implementation right. As Ohio makes the transition to new standards and assessments, there needs to be sufficient time to make adjustments. OEA renews its call for policy makers to hit the pause button and extend to 3 years a moratorium on the use of student test scores in measuring student growth, evaluating teacher performance and any adverse consequence on local schools,” said Higgins.

“OEA believes it is important to limit both the time spent on testing and the use of test results to make high-stakes decisions. The current fixation with testing is sucking the oxygen out of our education system. Students, parents and educators are saying enough is enough,” said Higgins.

The Ohio Education Association represents 121,000 teachers, faculty members and support professionals in Ohio's public schools, colleges and universities.
(c) Join the Future