PolitiFact Ohio, a "fact checking" operation ran by the Cleveland Plain Dealer decided to check out the following statement by Cleveland teachers
PolitiFact goes through a number of cases, based upon assertions made by CEO Gordon
PolitiFact looked at some "evidence", and so shall we.
The group’s report looked at Denver schools, where many teachers voluntarily opted for a merit pay system instead of the standard teaching contract. Known as the ProComp program, it ties teacher pay to education levels and offers bonus pay to teachers who work in the toughest schools and whose students score higher on tests.
Researchers at the University of Colorado found "significant and positive ProComp effects at both middle and high school for both math and reading, and the effects are larger at high school than middle school." The researchers cautioned, however, that it generally was the more effective teachers who opted into the program.
ProComp was funded by voters to the tune of $25 million in order to pay teachers more. Unless there's a provision in Frank Jackson's plan to ask voters for an additional $25 million on top of the $65 million deficit, we can see straight away that the Jacksons plan and the Denver ProComp system are not at all similar and worthy of comparison.
But let us pretend Frank Jackson's plan does involve giving teachers up to almost $4,000 a year in bonuses. According to a recent study of the ProComp system, researchers found
Clearly there is no evidence, as the Cleveland teachers said, that this kind of compensation improves student performance. Gordon and PolitiFact are WRONG.
PolitiFact's next step was to look at the Colorado Innovation Schools Act
There are just 21 innovation schools - an incredibly small sample, but according to a recent report
Innovation schools have experienced high rates of mobility among teachers and principals. Their teachers tend to be somewhat less experienced and are less likely to have master’s degrees than teachers in comparable schools
There are not yet clear trends to help us understand how Innovation will affect student achievement.
They sound an awful lot like most Cleveland charters, and like most Cleveland charters they rely upon less experienced, less qualified teachers, and are not producing better results than traditional schools. Gordon and PolitiFact are WRONG to look at Innovation Schools as evidence of successful reforms.
Next PolitiFact uses this
In their own words, there is no evidence this works to improve student achievement, exactly what the teachers in Cleveland claim. Why did PolitiFact even introduce this as evidence? Moving on.
Now we're getting desperate. So how does PolitiFact rule on this mountain of evidence?
While the specific approach Jackson mapped out for Cleveland hasn’t been proven, it does clearly contain elements that researchers suggest may work — at least in some cases -- such as merit pay for teachers, greater flexibility for schools in how they go about their business and longer school days or school year.
On the Truth-O-Meter, the claim by the Ohio Federation of Teachers rates Mostly False.
Huh? "Elements", "may work", PolitiFact contort their own piece to arrive at this ridiculously tortured conclusion. There is no evidence based on research that shows that what is proposed in the "Cleveland Plan" will work (though we hope some of it does!), to then arrive at a conclusion that the teachers are "mostly wrong" is absurd. This should come as no surprise as the Plain Dealer has been carrying the water for Frank Jackson and his SB5 plan on their opinion pages from the gitgo - and that's a Fact, totally true.