What teachers are telling the Governor: Day 1

The Governor and his education Czar, Bob Sommers, have been requesting teacher input via a web form as they attempt to design a teacher evaluation and merit pay system. We here at JTF continue to believe the best way to achieve this isn't through random submissions via the web, but in a more deliberative and collaborative manner with stakeholders and subject matter experts.

But since this common sense approach has been set aside, we thought we should share the input teachers and others are providing the Governor through is website governor.ohio.gov/Contact/Teachers.aspx. We obtained these responses via a public records request. We'll publish a representative selection of responses each day. We have decided not to publish the names or contact information of any respondants.

Subject: "Merit Pay"
Dear Governor Kasich,
My first suggestions is to create a team of teachers and administrators to head this committee. We need people with a background and degree in education. A qualified person would have to have been in a classroom setting in their adult life. A person with a business degree would not be qualified to discuss this issue. A set criteria would need to be developed based on a set number of students in the classroom. You can not judge someone who has 20 students in a classroom verses a teacher with 30 students in the classroom in the same manner. The amount of students who are at risk or have special needs would need to be spread out evenly throughout the teachers at each grade level. That way the test scores would be more even throughout the grade level. This is just my first few thoughts concerning "fair" merit pay. I will continue to send emails concerning this issue.
Thank you,
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Highland Local School District
Medina, Ohio
Subject: Evaluate this...
I'd like to ask the Governor to take on a typical American class of 45 low-income mixed grade junior high students in an inner city school himself for at least one month and allow a panel of senior teachers (20 years+ experience) to evaluate his ability to lead in this situation and to bet his governorship on getting success for learning with this underfunded class of kids while on a teacher's wage.
Subject: fair method to pay teachers fairly
Governor, I am a retired teacher in Ohio after a 31 year career in Trumbull County. Considering all they do, much of it "off the clock", teachers have never been paid what they are worth and probably never will. But, for the largest majority, teachers are quite intelligent, tending toward altruism, and fair minded folks. The best way to come close to making sure they are payed fairly is to KEEP AND CONTINUE USING COLLECTIVE BARGAINING.

Maybe the process needs a bit of an overhaul, but to get rid of it totally is throwing the baby out with the bath water. Collective bargaining may not be in our country's constitution, but intelligent people over a long and intense history hammered out this process and it is a good one, very much in keeping with democratic principles. All people in this country have the right to speak for themselves in order to be treated fairly. All people of the world have this right whether it is honored or not. Most especially in the USA, that right should always be honored.

Collective bargaining for all public employees, including teachers, needs to be maintained in Ohio and restored or instituted in all other states where the process either doesn't exist or is being threatened. Thank you,

Subject: Fair pay for teachers
Governor Kasich,
“Fairness” cannot be legislated. The complexities are too subtle, and too large, to be encompassed in any law. The fair way to arrive at fair compensation and fair benefits for teachers is through collective bargaining.
That’s all!

Finally for today,

Subject: No Subject
Funding for public education has been identified as illegal for years. You should be doing something to make funding more equitable so students' have the same advantages in their schools across the state; instead you want to increase salaries in salary heavy districts. Teachers who usually have the highest success rate also usually work in the wealthiest districts. The rich will get richer and we poor will stay poor.

We'll bring you more thoughts and comments tomorrow - we have over 1,300 to go through...