Ohio Charters Fail in Comparison to Big 8

With the release of school performance data, comparisons between traditional public schools and charter schools can be performed. The Dispatch has been first out the gate comparing charter schools to the Ohio Urban schools (or the big 8 as they are often referred).

Ohio’s charter schools are struggling to make gains in student performance, making the large urban districts they were meant to reform look good by comparison, state report-card information released last month shows.

More than 80 percent of charter high schools got an F on the latest state report cards or their ability to graduate students on time in four years. Those failing schools listed enrollment that totaled more than 42,000 students; more than 30,000 of them attended three Internet-based charter schools, including the state’s largest, ECOT.
Of the 19 charter and urban high schools rated A in graduating students on time, two were charters. No charters were in the top 10 schools. The Dispatch did not include the state’s “dropout recovery” charters that target high-school dropouts; their numbers are even worse.

Imagine the comparisons if the dropout recovery schools were included! As usual the Charter school boosters have the excuses ready for yet another year of terrible performance

The Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools said in a statement two weeks ago that the release of the latest state numbers should be “viewed within the context of the student demographics of public brick-and-mortar charter schools and the grades they serve,” and that Internet charters such as ECOT should be excluded.

Chambers is arguing that if only the ratings were calculated illegally, her charter schools performance would look better! If you recall, excluding e-schools is what got ODE and David Hansen (the husband of Gov. Kasich campaign manager) in hot water and eventually fired.

However, we agree that ECOT and the other eschools are a major problem. But, rather than simply excluding their performance os it can be hidden from public view, the state should simply close them all down. Tolerating this annual failure is past the sell by date.

Charter Eval Panel Issues Recommendations

The panel convened to clean up the charter school data scrubbing mess has issues its recommendations - which include requiring all charter schools including e-schools and drop-out recovery schools to be counted, and for the ratings to be calculated similarly to traditional public schools. the recommendations also dismiss the suggestion by ECOT that the number of students a school has be ignored in the weightings - thereby making ECOT with thousands of students look like a rinky-dink charter with just a handful.

You can view the presentation of the panel below

State Board Dec2015 Community School Sponsor Evaluation

The Myth of Unions’ Overprotection of Bad Teachers

A new study, by Eunice S. Han for the The National Bureau of Economic Research, titled "The Myth of Unions’ Overprotection of Bad Teachers: Evidence from the District-Teacher Matched Panel Data on Teacher Turnover" found teachers unions raise the dismissal of low-quality teachers because higher wages give districts a greater incentive to select high-quality teachers but lower the attrition of high-quality teachers, as they negotiate higher wages for teachers.

From the study's conclusion:

I find that districts with strong unionism dismiss more underperforming teachers and have lower teacher attrition than districts with weak unionism.
I find that districts with strong unionism dismiss more underperforming teachers and have lower teacher attrition than districts with weak unionism.

Through the dynamics of teacher turnover, unions ultimately raise teacher quality, as unionized districts can better retain good teachers and dismiss more underperforming teachers. Two pieces of empirical evidence support this hypothesis: districts with strong unionism have more teachers with stronger qualifications and lower dropout rates than districts with weak unionism. I also find that the recent legal change weakening unionism in four states affects the teacher turnover pattern and teacher quality negatively, confirming unions’ positive role in the US educational system.

This research, therefore, suggests that restricting the legal boundary for unions’ activities may not be the appropriate approach in improving educational outcomes. Rather, promoting union-friendly environments may create more encouraging economic conditions for teachers and provide districts with incentives to select better teachers, eventually raising teacher quality.

You can read the entire study below

The Myth of Unions’ Overprotection of Bad Teachers

Why educators support the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Via NEA:

For nearly 14 long years, students and educators have lived under the deeply flawed No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. The Every Student Succeeds Act returns decision making for our nation’s education back where it belongs - in the hands of local educators, parents and communities - while keeping the focus on students most in need.

The Every Student Succeeds Act

Provides more opportunity for all students, including for the first time, indicators of school success or student support to help identify and begin closing opportunity gaps

  • Requires state-designed accountability systems to include at least one indicator of school success or student support—such as access to advanced coursework, school climate and safety (including from bullying), fine arts, regular physical education, and counselors or nurses—to ensure that states report on opportunity gaps and take action to close them.
  • Requires the use of multiple measures of student success in elementary, middle, and high school.

Includes less focus on, and a decoupling of, the high-stakes associated with standardized tests, so students have more time to learn and teachers have more time to teach

  • While continuing to require annual tests in grades 3-8 and once in high school, the bill eliminates NCLB’s rigid system of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) aimed at 100 percent proficiency in deference to state defined goals. The bill also allows districts to apply to instead use another nationally recognized assessment in high school instead of the state standardized tests.
  • Incorporates the SMART Act to provide funding for states to audit and streamline assessment systems, eliminate unnecessary and duplicative assessments, and improve the use of assessments.
  • Creates a pilot program for state-designed assessment systems that allow for local district assessments driven by teaching and learning, not accountability alone, and allows all states that meet the criteria to participate.
  • Maintains the right of parents and guardians to opt their children out of statewide academic assessments where state and local policies allow them to do so.
  • Allows states to set a cap limiting the time students spend taking annual tests.

Empowering educators with a greater voice in educational and instructional decisions

  • Moves decision-making to the people who know the names of the students they educate while maintaining supports that ensure zip codes do not determine the quality of education.
  • Incentivizes supports and interventions that are tailored to local needs while preserving the historic federal role in protecting the most vulnerable: children of poverty, students with disabilities, and English-language learners.
  • Recognizes that the one-size-fits-all approach does not work, and calls for committees of practitioners that include educators, parents and community constituents to work together to improve their local schools.
  • Maintains paraeducator qualification requirements and requires paraeducator voice in multiple relevant sections of the bill, including as it relates to professional development.
  • Prohibits the federal government from mandating teacher evaluations or defining teacher effectiveness.
  • Protects state and local collective bargaining agreements and allows those to cover educator provisions in Title II, including all of professional development provisions and the Teacher Incentive Fund. Ensures that educators and their local unions have a say in their professional development continuum.

Includes prohibitions on the Secretary of Education’s authority

  • Restrictions on secretarial authority are present throughout the bill and are focused on prohibiting the U.S. Secretary of Education from dictating specific mandates. These include mandates on: standards and assessments, how much elements of the accountability plans should count for or even the criteria themselves, parameters of the accountability system, additional data collection, exit requirements, teacher evaluation, and the definition of teacher effectiveness.

Additional notable aspects of the bill

  • Provides greater access to early childhood education by authorizing alignment and improvement grants to improve coordination of current funding.
  • Establishes full service community schools program to promote additional ways to serve the needs of the whole child, including wraparound services and supports for children in high-need communities.
  • Does not include Title I portability. This exclusion is vital because Title I portability dilutes the impact of Title I, is harmful to students attending Title I schools, and portability does nothing to address the failure to fund Title I adequately.

Simply stated, the Every Student Succeeds Act will help ensure that all students, regardless of their zip code, will have the support, tools, and time to learn that they need to succeed and that educators’ voices are part of the decision making process at all levels. Students who are high school seniors this year have spent their entire K-12 experience under NCLB. It is long past time to fix this broken law and give the next generation of students the resources and support they need.

We Are the Peace Makers

It is in our nature to want peace and harmony in our lives. And so it is what we desire in our work lives and classrooms. Standing up and speaking out does not always come naturally to everyone and seems especially difficult for educators. As a teacher, we want things to be at peace. It is essential to the well-being of our students, colleagues and our classrooms. How does learning happen otherwise?

Confronting the politics, policies, and management techniques of those perceived to be "the boss" is very uncomfortable. The fear of reprisal is real. There is a weapon to the fear of reprisal and it is solidarity.

Solidarity~a feeling of unity between people who have the same interests, goals, etc.

As colleagues in this anti-teacher, anti-public education climate, it will be the unity we build that will help us create the best environment for student learning. No one decided to enter the profession of professional educator to create data widgets. Many of us are over the moon when students learn from their curiosity and develop a sense of being a life-long learner. It does no good for our students if we only stew and/or complain. Change needs to happen. For our benefit and the benefit of OUR students.

I want to remind you again that administrators need to hear our voices of discontent. If you EVER feel that you are being punished because of your expression of free speech, it is your responsibility to let your Union representative know immediately.

Any meeting that an administrator requests can be attended by you and your building representative.

In solidarity,

Soozie Hetterscheidt