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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

Value Add Reports Screwed Up In Ohio

A number of readers sent us this message they have been receiving from SAS, the company that develops and deploys the secret, proprietary VAM system in Ohio
Subject: PLEASE READ - Important Message Concerning Teacher Value-Added Reports

As a precaution, the 2013-2014 Teacher Value-Added Reports that were released Tuesday are being taken down from the EVAAS website. Some of the teacher-student linkage data was not included in the analysis when the reports were produced. These reports will be corrected, verified and re-posted as soon as possible. The school and district reports will remain on the site and are accurate.
This is just one more reasons why this formula needs to be open and available for scrutiny. Educators whose careers depend upon these scores have no way of knowing if the calculations are accurate and correct. It is also another good reason why delaying the implementation of high stakes testing should be adopted, and thankfully a bill to do just that has been introduced.

Rep Teresa Fedor has introduced HB 642
To amend section 3302.036 of the Revised Code and Section 13 of Am. Sub. H.B. 487 of the 130th General Assembly to provide a three-year performance rating safe harbor for school districts and schools, to provide a three-year student academic growth rating safe harbor for teacher evaluations and when making decisions regarding teachers' employment and compensation, and to declare an emergency.
It has already attracted a number of co-sponsors, including Representatives Clyde, Bishoff, Stinziano, Hagan, R., Lundy, Hood, Gerberry, Barborak, Mallory, Slesnick, Phillips, Ramos, Foley, Cera, Antonio, Patterson, Driehaus, Sheehy, Rogers. It has also been openly welcomed by the Ohio Education Association, which represents 121,000 teachers, faculty members and support professionals in Ohio's public schools, colleges and universities.
“As Senator Peggy Lehner, the chair of the Senate Education Committee, has noted – ‘we are over-testing our kids’,” said OEA President Becky Higgins. “We urge state lawmakers to hit the pause button and determine which tests are actually needed and which are also appropriate for the grade level at which they’re being administered.”

OEA believes that with the use of the new Common Core standards in Ohio schools and the prospect of even more tests being conducted, it is important to take more time to make sure the implementation of these standards goes well.

“We’ve seen what has happened in other states where the hasty implementation of Common Core and the related testing has led to a backlash among parents, students and educators,” continued OEA President Higgins. “We support Ohio’s New Learning Standards, but we want to make sure Ohio gets it right. That’s why we think taking the time to ‘test the tests’ would be a prudent course to follow.”
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