academic

Teachers Digging Into Own Pockets to tune of $1.3 billion

Via

Roughly half the amount that the nation's public school teachers are spending on educational products is being covered with their own money, a new nationwide survey shows.

All told, teachers spent about $3.2 billion on various types of supplies and materials during the 2012-13 academic year, according to the survey, released recently by the National School Supply and Equipment Association. Half that total amount, $1.6 billion, came out of educators' own pockets.

The per-teacher breakdown is as follows: The average educator forked out about $198 of their own money on instructional materials, $149 on school supplies, and $139 on other classroom materials, for a total of $485 last academic year, according to the survey.

In total, nearly all teachersā€”99.5 percentā€”reported digging into their own pockets to cover the costs on classroom supplies or materials, according to the association. The portion of teachers doing so appears to have risen over time.

The report, "The 2010 NSSEA Retail Market Awareness Study," was based on a survey of 308 K-12 teachers, conducted by Perry Research Professionals.

21 tough questions about school reform

Via the Washington Post, civil rights activist James Meredith, asks 21 tough questions about school reform

1.) Childrenā€™s Rights: Do you believe that every child in the United States has the right to an excellent public education delivered by the most qualified professional teachers; an education aggressively supported by the family and the community, and an education based on the best research and evidence?

2.) Parent Responsibilities: Would you support the idea of public schools strongly encouraging and helping parents to: be directly involved in their childrenā€™s education; support their children with healthy eating and daily physical activity; disconnect their children from TV and video games; and read books to and with them on a daily basis from birth through childhood?

3.) Educational Equity: Do you believe that America should strive to deliver educational equity of resources to all students of all backgrounds and income groups?

4.) Testing Reforms: Much of current education reform policy is built on the idea that the U.S. must catch up to nations that achieve high scores in the international PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) tests, like Finland, South Korea and Singapore. But since these nations rely on few if any of the reform strategies being promoted in the United States, like cyber-charters, frequent high-stakes standardized tests linked to teacher evaluation, teacher bonus pay, vouchers, and hiring teachers with no experience and no advanced degrees in education – - why would the U.S. implement these strategies without first field-testing them thoroughly?

5.) Teacher Qualifications: If a critical factor in the success of the highest-performing education nations like Finland, South Korea and Singapore, and of high-performing American private and parochial schools, is a highly professionalized, highly experienced and highly respected teacher force, why is the United States pursuing policies to de-professionalize the public school teacher force, including sending recent college graduates into our highest-needs, highest-poverty schools with five weeks of training, no education degree and no experience? What is the hard evidence that such policies improve student outcomes, versus teachers with at least 2 to 5 years of experience and advanced degrees in education?

6.) Evidence for Classroom Products: What rigorous, independent evidence supports the use of computer products to deliver academic benefit to K-8 students as support to, or replacements for, flesh-and-blood teachers? Specifically, what computer products have such evidence of improving student outcomes, when fully tested versus classrooms without such products, and versus classrooms without such products but with more experienced teachers?

7.) Taxpayer Spending on Products: Would you support requiring computer software and hardware companies to fund rigorous independent research to validate the delivery of academic benefit to K-8 students by their products, before billions of dollars of taxpayer money is spent on buying such products?

8.) Taxpayer Spending on Testing: According to one estimate, American taxpayers spend about $20,000,000,000 annually on standardized tests like multiple-choice ā€œbubble tests” but many teachers and students are saying they are hijacking huge amounts of school time that should be used for authentic learning, and thereby seriously damaging our childrenā€™s education. What evidence is there that the money and time being spent on high-stakes standardized tests is improving student outcomes and delivering academic benefit to students?

9.) Dangers of Linking Standardized Testing to Teacher Evaluation: A number of experts assert that students standardized test data should not be linked to teacher pay or evaluation because the data can be highly unstable, volatile, misleading or invalid for such purposes and will incorrectly penalize teachers of both high-achieving and high-needs students; arguments presented, for example, on this fact sheet from the Center for Fair & Open Testing, or FairTest.

What is your point of view on this ā€“ are these experts correct or incorrect?

10.) Advantages for Students: If the children and grandchildren of people like President Obama and American politicians and business leaders enjoy the benefits of private schools with highly experienced teachers, small class sizes, frequent diagnostic testing and assessments designed by their teachers, rich and full curricula including the arts and physical activity, regular recess, and a minimum of standardized ā€œbubbleā€ tests, should we strive to give the same advantages to all public school students? If not, why not?

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Senate budget - good, bad, ugly

The much anticipated Senate budget, when it comes to education policy, could be titled "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". We've already discussed the ugly, let's take a look at the good and the bad.

The Good

The statewide parent trigger, proposed by the governor and eliminated by the house, is not proposed by the Senate either and appears dead, for now.

The Senate also includes a fix to HB555 and the onerous teacher evaluation provisions it contained. Here's what the fix proposes

Prescribes that the student academic growth factor must account for 35% (rather than 50% as under current law) of each evaluation under the standards-based state framework for evaluation of teachers developed by the State Board of Education and permits a school district to attribute an additional percentage to the student academic growth factor, not to exceed 15% of each evaluation.

Specifies that, when calculating student academic growth for a teacher evaluation, students who have had 30 or more excused or unexcused absences for the school year must be excluded (rather than excluding students with 60 or more unexcused absences as under current law).

Ohio Revised Code labels a student as a chronic truant if they are absent 14 days, so 30 days is still a high number of absences to allow, but it is certainly better than the ridiculous 60 days in current law. The reduction in the use of VAM to 35% from 50% is a welcome improvement.

The Governor proposed eliminating the single salary schedule, and the House concurred. The Senate however strikes this proposal from their budget. We suspect there will be pressure applied to put this back in. Educators and support professional should continue to apply their own pressure on legislators to keep it out.

The Senate also eliminated the home-school freeloading provision the House added that would have allowed home schoolers to participate in district extra-curricular activities at no expense.

The Bad

The Governor proposed a massive statewide voucher expansion effort, the House concurred, and the Senate has left the proposal in too. With massive opposition to this proposal we were a little surprised the Senate left this unnecessary proposal in their budget.

Charter schools get a number of additional free passes from the Senate, including an e-school exemption for phys ed., an additional qualifying condition for vouchers, and a provision that would make charter school closures more difficult as LSC notes it "May be more difficult to close community schools after July 1, 2013 (compared with current law after that date).". The Senate also eliminates a charter school teacher quality provision for charters populated primarily with students with disabilities. A number of other smaller provisions setting charter schools on a longer path to failure are also propsed by the Senate, such as:

Exempts students of chartered nonpublic schools accredited through the Independent School Association of the Central States from passing the end-of-course examinations as a prerequisite for graduation from high school.

The Charter school business doesn't contribute millions of dollars a year to Republican politicians for nothing.

The challenging

The Senate adds a new levy type aimed at school safety

Authorizes school districts to levy a property tax exclusively for school safety and security purposes. Requires the levy to comply with the same requirements that apply to general school district levies in excess of the 10-mill limitation.

A good intentioned proposal aimed at lowering violence in schools, but there should be concern that a safety levy might reduce local taxpayers appetites for funding levies for normal school operations, the core purpose of schools themselves. School districts will have to be mindful in how they approach this issue.

Here's the full comparative document of the education section of the budget

Senate Sub HB59

Education News for 5-29-2013

State Education News

  • Columbus school-levy bill advances in legislature (Columbus Dispatch)
  • After hearing testimony from two Columbus school-board members and others, the Ohio House Education Committee voted 16-3 yesterday to send a bill to the full House that would require a school district property-tax issueā€¦Read more...

  • Gender split proves positive in Hamilton schools (Hamilton Journal-News)
  • The lunch period at any school can sometimes be a chaotic scene of boys and girls vying for each otherā€™s attentionā€¦Read more...

  • Lorain Superintendent Tucker outlines comprehensive academic recovery plan (Lorain Morning Journal)
  • On the same day Superintendent Tom Tucker outlined his comprehensive academic recovery plan for Lorain City Schools, its treasurer presented a gloomy financial forecastā€¦Read more...

  • Greenon follows trend on all-day kindergarten (Springfield News-Sun)
  • Kindergartners entering Greenon schools next year will get more time to learn as the district moves to all-day classes, following a state and national trendā€¦Read more...

  • School Nurses Want Law To Help Them Save Students From Deadly Allergic Reactions (WBNS)
  • As the school year comes to an end, state lawmakers will be getting a bill backed by school nurses within the next few weeks. Nurses want to save the lives of students who have allergic reactions to food for the first time while at schoolā€¦Read more...

Local Education News

  • Columbus board mum on hiring provost (Columbus Dispatch)
  • The Columbus Board of Education met privately at noon yesterday to discuss hiring Ohio State University Vice President and Provost Joseph Alutto to become acting superintendentā€¦Read more...

  • Hancock School board to rescind some layoffs (Steubenville Herald-Star)
  • Three months after announcing teacher and other staff layoffs, the Hancock County Board of Education is poised to call some of those people backā€¦Read more...

  • Struthers considers drug tests for athletes (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • The Struthers City School District may begin drug testing its student athletes in grades seven through 12 as soon as the 2013-14 academic yearā€¦Read more...

Education News for 05-20-2013

State Education News

  • Glitches follow switch from paper to computer testing (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  • Students arenā€™t the only ones nervous about state testing. Very public computer glitches plaguing online testing in several states in recent weeks are making educators and state leadersā€¦Read more...

  • Charter tax plan raises questions (Columbus Dispatch)
  • A proposed state law singles out Columbus City Schools taxpayers to shoulder part of the tax burden for charter schools even though thousands of Franklin Countyā€™s charter-school students live in suburban school districtsā€¦Read more...

  • Reading help on the way for Columbus kindergartners (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Most children who came to kindergarten in Columbus schools without knowing the ABCs, which way to hold a book or other important early-reading skills remained behind when they reached third gradeā€¦Read more...

  • Former state education official pleads guilty to possessing child porn (Columbus Dispatch)
  • A fired state education official has pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of possession of child pornographyā€¦Read more...

  • Lorain Academic Distress Commission meets (Lorain Morning Journal)
  • The Lorain Academic Distress Commission will see a draft of the districtā€™s academic improvement plan Monday, along with data on how the schools operateā€¦Read more...

Local Education News

    ā€Ø
  • Local revenue increases without ballot requests becoming more common for schools (Chillicothe Gazette)
  • For two decades, Licking Valley Local Schools have not gone to the ballot to ask for more money ā€” but that doesnā€™t mean it hasnā€™t taken more from local taxpayersā€¦Read more...

  • CHCA continues to broaden international student program (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  • Many foreign students study abroad in high school for a year or two as exchange students. At Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, most stay for its entiretyā€¦Read more...

  • Sheriff wonā€™t support school levies unless districts look at armed personnel (Dayton Daily News)
  • Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones declared this week that he ā€œwonā€™t support a school levy again that doesnā€™t address school safety with armed personnelā€¦Read more...

  • Beavercreek schools face money crisis in 2015 (Dayton Daily News)
  • Without any changes, the Beavercreek City School District would start the 2015 fiscal year with $5.2 million in the bank, not enough to open the schools for 2015/16 school yearā€¦Read more...

  • Gadgets growing on local schools: Even youngest of pupils getting involved (Lima News)
  • Temple Christian sixth-grader Anna Acklin spent this year using a school-issued iPad in class and at home. She considered herself lucky, until learning kindergartners at her school will get iPad Minisā€¦Read more...

  • Here's who wasn't picked; Lorain Academic Distress Commission candidates uncovered (Lorain Morning Journal)
  • The names of seven candidates for the local appointments to Lorainā€™s Academic Distress Commission have been uncovered through an investigation by the Morning Journalā€¦Read more...

  • Lorain County school leaders oppose expansion of voucher program (Lorain Morning Journal)
  • Lorain Countyā€™s school superintendents, as well as administrators from Sandusky City Schools, are speaking out against a proposed expansion to a state voucher programā€¦Read more...

  • Despite hurdles local ballot issues face, system unlikely to change (Mansfield News Journal)
  • For six consecutive times, West Muskingum Local Schools had gone to the voters seeking additional financial support only to be rejectedā€¦Read more...

  • Stepp files lawsuit against Medina Board of Education (Sun Newspapers)
  • Medina City School District superintendent Randy Stepp has made good on a threat to take the district to court, filing a lawsuit against the board of education and other district officials in federal courtā€¦Read more...

  • Eager for education (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • The 2013 graduates of the Youngstown Early College didnā€™t talk as much about all the good times they had in high school as about their journeys, and how tough it was staying the courseā€¦Read more...

Editorial

  • A promise to our kids (Columbus Dispatch)
  • A bill pending in the Ohio House that would tweak some provisions of Ohioā€™s third-grade reading guarantee would make the program more workable for schools without undermining its intentā€¦Read more...

Education News for 04-26-2013

State Education News

  • Columbus schools auditor slows plan to expand office (Columbus Dispatch)
  • The Columbus City Schoolsā€™ internal auditor proposed a scaled-back plan last night to boost her staff and help protect the district against future problems like the data-riggingā€¦Read more...

  • Ramos balks at recording Academic Distress Commission meetings (Lorain Morning Journal)
  • Most bylaws of the Academic Distress Commission that will oversee Lorainā€™s school system were approved Monday, but commission member Raul Ramosā€¦Read more...

Local Education News

    ā€Ø
  • Cleveland names 'investment schools' slated for turnaround (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • The Cleveland school district this afternoon named 13 low-performing schools to receive intensive help next school yearā€¦Read more...

  • LCC will issue all students iPads (Lima News)
  • Lima Central Catholic High School students will be handed an iPad when they arrive to school next year. They will keep the devices all year, which school officials believe will improve their educationā€¦Read more...

  • Lima schools promise free lunch for all (Lima News)
  • Come next school year, every pupil in the Lima schools will be eligible for free lunchesā€¦Read more...

  • Hilliard officials rip schools deal to sell land for homes (This Week News)
  • Hilliard city officials say the Hilliard school board acted hypocritically when it approved selling 124 acres to Rockford Homes for almost $5 million, given the districtā€™s past complaintsā€¦Read more...