We're gonna need a bigger boat

Bigger BoatThere's a line in the movie Jaws, where it dawns upon Martin Brody that they are up against a serious shark and need a bigger boat. Well there's an article in the Dayton Daily News today that suggests school districts might need a bigger boat too, if they are to comply with some of the crazy provisions of S.B.5

The new merit pay system mandated in Senate Bill 5 will be applied to Ohio’s 146,000 K-12 teachers and indirectly impact 1.78 million students in 613 school districts.
Senate Bill 5 calls for teachers to be evaluated each year by April 1. The reviews would be based on: licensure level; whether teachers attain ‘highly qualified’ status; student test scores; at least two observations of at least 30 minutes each; and other criteria picked by the local school board.

Pay, firings and layoffs will be based on these evaluations.

Let's stop there just for one second. We won't dwell on licensure level, status or even student test scores. We'll get to those for sure another time.

Let's just think for a minute about these observations.

There must be 2 per year per teacher of at least 30 minutes each. 30 minutes + 30 minutes = 1 hour. 1 hour x 146,000 teachers = 146,000 hours of observation per year.

But these observers aren't just going to magically appear. They will need time to organize the observations, to get to the classes, to record their findings and to issue a report. Conservatively this adds another hour per year per teacher to the effort.

Now we are at 292,000 hours per year just for this provision alone.

If someone were to work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year it would take them over 140 years to complete this task. Since these observations have to be completed annualy that means we're going to need at least 140 more administrators just for this provision alone!

Is this what was meant by providing school districts the tools they need to save money?

Ohio School Boards Association lobbyist Damon Asbury, a former school district superintendent who has assessed evaluation systems, said the best ones boil down to using multiple data points, including observations made by different observers. Asbury said high quality, annual evaluations of every teacher will put heavy pressure on administrators.

“That is not to say it can’t be done but it’ll require more time and effort,” he said. “We may find ourselves in need of more administrators.”

We're going to need a bigger boat, or at least one that doesn't have so many holes in it.