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#5of8 Row draws strange bedfellows

We reported yesterday on the Ohio State Board of Education's plans to eliminate the 5 of 8 rule. The Boards' Operating Standards Committee met yesterday to discuss the rule and vote it out of committee. It passed 4-3, but those supporting and opposing the measure were not who you would expect.
According to the Plain Dealer
"I've been receiving a lot of feedback," said committee member Kathleen McGervey of Avon, who voted no after she started receiving calls with objections this weekend. "I just wanted a little more time to hear them out."

Board member Sarah Fowler, the vice chair of the Operating Standards Committee from Ashtabula County, also voted against sending the change to the full board. She said emails from constituents Sunday and Monday convinced her to consider the issue further. Fowler also represents Geauga and Portage counties.

Her biggest concern: "Making sure we're not incentivizing districts to not provide certain things for their students."

Also voting no was Stephanie Dodd, of Hebron.
Sarah Fowler is the home-schooler on the board and typically has not been friendly towards public education. The volume of complaints she and other board members have been receiving have clearly been having an effect. Back the the Plain Dealer
Committee chairman Ron Rudduck, Board President Debe Terhar, and members Tess Elshoff and Brad Lamb, of Westlake, voted to approve the changes for full board consideration.
It should be no surprise that Debe Terhar continues to act against the best interests of students, and Brad Lamb was just voted out of office only 7 days ago to be replaced by a veteran teacher, Roslyn Painter-Goffi. The disappointing yes vote was that of Ron Rudduck.

Rudduck received strong backing from educators in the November elections, believing he was a moderate Republican voice with strong pro-public education beliefs guiding his decisions. Educators and concerned parents should call Ron Ruddick and tell him to oppose the elimination of the 5 of 8 rule. You can phone him: (937) 302-8035, or Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Today, the State board of Education will hear public comments, one of the groups testifying will be the Ohio Education Association - the organization that represents 121,000 teacher in Ohio. Here's why they believe it is critical to keep the 5 of 8 rule.
When the Board votes on the recommendations of the Operating Standards Committee, we ask that you restore this language in Rule 5 for the following reasons:
• Removing the Current Rule 5 language would have the immediate effect of further reducing the educational opportunities that are available to boys and girls in Ohio’s schools.

• Current Rule 5 language already provides significant flexibility to local school districts; there is no compelling reason to change it.

• Without rules requiring Ohio’s schools to provide specific services that meet the needs of the whole child (including school counseling, nursing, library media support, social work, and elementary art, music and physical education instruction), school districts will have the incentive to focus personnel and other resources only on tested subjects.

• Maintaining the “5 of 8” rule demonstrates that the State Board of Education is committed to equal educational opportunity for all of Ohio’s students. If the 5 of 8 rule were eliminated from the Operating Standards, children from low-wealth communities—those who need these services the most—would be the most likely to be deprived of the support they need for a well-rounded education.

State Board of Education Set to Eliminate Music, Art, Librarians, Counselors, Nurses and Phys Ed

The State Board of Education is poised to allow the elimination of library media specialists, school nurses, visiting teachers, social workers and elementary art, music and physical education specialist by redlining out the following section ("5 of 8" rule) of the Ohio Administrative Code
(4) A minimum of five full-time equivalent educational service personnel shall be employed district-wide for each one thousand students in the regular student population as defined in section 3317.023 of the Revised Code. Educational service personnel shall be assigned to at least five of the eight following areas: counselor, library media specialist, school nurse, visiting teacher, social worker and elementary art, music and physical education. Educational service personnel assigned to elementary art, music and physical education shall hold the special teaching certificate or multi-age license in the subject to which they are assigned. School districts receiving the school nurse wellness coordinator factor and school district health professional factor funds pursuant to section 3306.06 of the Revised Code shall give preference to hiring licensed school nurses.
Tom Gunlock, the board's vice chairman, had this to say to the Plain Dealer this morning
the proposed change isn't to eliminate those positions, as some are charging, but to let districts make their own choices. I'm sure they'll do what's right for their kids.
For wealthy districts who already operate above these comically low standards the rule change will have little impact, but for districts struggling financially, or looking for ways to meet other mandates such as the 3rd grade reading guarantee within existing tight budgets, elimination of these state minimums will have disastrous effects on students. Gunlock is acting very coy and surely knows full well what eliminating these standards will mean.

There are some conflicting reports that the Board vote will take place either tomorrow at their meeting, or at the December meeting. Either way we urge educators and concerned parents to contact the board and tell them to abandon this terrible plan. Email the school board or call (614) 728-2754. Do it sooner rather than later.

Here's a good, short, slide show highlighting some of the details.

Corporate Ed proposal suffers crushing defeat

Corporate Education Reformers were dealt a massive blow by voters in Missouri, by rejecting a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would have linked teacher evaluations to student performance, limited tenure, and restricted collective bargaining rights. The effort to undermine public education was funded by a far right billionaire, Rex Sinquefield under the guise of a comically named group "Teach Great".

Here's the cockamamie plan he had cooked up
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
  • require teachers to be evaluated by a standards based performance evaluation system for which each local school district must receive state approval to continue receiving state and local funding;
  • require teachers to be dismissed, retained, demoted, promoted and paid primarily using quantifiable student performance data as part of the evaluation system;
  • require teachers to enter into contracts of three years or fewer with public school districts; and
  • prohibit teachers from organizing or collectively bargaining regarding the design and implementation of the teacher evaluation system?

Sounds a lot like SB5 - and like SB5 it was massively defeated 77% - 23%.

In Illinois, voters struck back at millionaires voting to approve an income tax surcharge to pay for schools. That measure passed 63%-37%.

2014 Election Brings Step Forward for Public Education

Hopefully not lost in the Governor's reelection is just how unconvinced voters remain about some of his policies, especially when it comes to public education. In 2010 the Governor received 1,889,186 votes, a total he barely topped this election with 1,922,241. Rather than an election win on the basis of convincing voters of his policies, his victory last night was more a product of voter apathy towards the alternative.

Further evidence of voters distrust of the governor's education policies can be seen in the results for the State Board of Education. Seven of the boards seats were on the ballot, and pro-public education candidates won 5 of them.

This graphic was heavily trafficked on social media during the campaign

Winning 5 of 7 races in an election where the top of the ticket was barely contested should be as loud of a message that can be sent. In one of the lost races, District 2, Kim Redfern appears to have been the victim of voter backlash against her Husband, Chris Redfern the Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party. District 7 continues to puzzle. Voters returned home schooler Sarah Fowler to the board, a truly bizarre choice.

With 5 new pro-public education board members and a new Board President to replace the disgraceful Debe Terhar there's more hope that educators will have a voice in education policy over the next few years.

Report urges revamping student testing

A new report suggests overhauling how school and student success is measured in the United States.

The report, by the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and the National Center for Innovation in Education at the University of Kentucky, recommends alternatives to annual standardized tests. It says there should be far more emphasis on ongoing assessments of students as part of regular classroom instruction.

Schools should focus more on “formative assessments,” the curriculum-based problems and quizzes that teachers give to students throughout the school year for feedback on how students are doing, in addition to locally developed alternatives to assessments, the report argues. The latter could include science experiments, literary essays, classroom projects and, by the senior year of high school, internship experiences and portfolios that students can present to employers and colleges.

You can read the report below

Accountability College and Career Readiness Developing New Paradigm

(c) Join the Future