Teachers to the legislative rescue

We brought HB555 to your attention quite some time ago. Yet another vehicle for school "reform". It was mothballed, but now appears to be getting a dust-off according to Gongwer, and readied for lame duck action

The House Education Committee is scheduled to meet on three days in the week following the election, and the chairman said Thursday the yet-to-be-completed report card rating bill will be top priority during lame duck.

With meetings set for the afternoons of Nov. 13-15, Chairman Rep. Gerald Stebelton (R-Lancaster) said it is possible the committee will hear other bills, but the main focus will be on legislation to revamp the state's grade cards for school districts and buildings.

Rep. Stebelton introduced a placeholder bill during the summer (HB 555) that currently contains language stating the General Assembly's intent to put in place a system by Dec. 31. He said Thursday, however, the bill is not "totally completed yet."

"The subject matter of 555 is the highest priority (for lame duck)," he said in an interview. "We've had a lot of negotiations and there's still a lot of moving parts."

Mr. Stebelton said he is hopeful the legislature can reach consensus with the governor's office in time to have the bill passed by the end of the year as intended. He has been working with administration officials, the Department of Education and the Senate, he said.

Rep Stableton would be wise to wait just a short while, he might have some actual educators join him in the state legislature, who can help guide him to better policy, instead of creating a mess like this one

Reading Guarantee: Mr. Sawyers said the department is asking for a change during lame duck session to the third-grade guarantee, specifically to a requirement that students with a reading deficiency be assigned to a teacher with a "reading endorsement."

Because teachers with such a certification are few and far between, the agency wants clarification that would align the requirement of a high-performing teacher with the reading endorsement for the time being because acquiring the training for the title requires 12 to 16 semester hours of college credit, he said.

"It's not practical that between January of 2013 - if they're not already in a fall semester someplace - between January and then when they will start again in August that we're going to have this mad rush of people going out to get this reading endorsement (and) that can actually complete 12 to 18 semester hours of credit," Mr. Sawyers said.

"There's got to be an alternative, ultimately, that's put in place for fall (2013), so we're proposing to the General Assembly, what could that alternative be?"

Oh dear. We wrote about the mixed messages and policy mess the legislature has caused with this, so it's good to see ODE acknowledge the problems too. But, these are the kinds of problems that simply would not occur if legislatures with no education experience or background listened to those who have, and hopefully come January, that will include a number of colleagues.

Education News for 04-16-2012

Statewide Education News

  • State to target achievement gaps among students (Dispatch)
  • If nothing changes, black fifth-graders won’t be reading on par with white fifth-graders in Ohio for another 303 years, the state estimates. For third-graders, it would be 90 years before black and white students pass reading exams at the same rate. State officials say those alarming estimates show that schools need to act quickly to make sure groups of students who are behind are catching up with their peers. Read More…

  • Project learning 101 at Winton Woods (Enquirer)
  • In classrooms across the country, a pendulum is swinging. On one side is the predominant belief that students learn best through direct instruction – teachers lecturing and students listening, taking notes and proving on tests what they’ve learned. On the other side is what some say is a more progressive form of education, in which students collaborate on projects and problems and learn from each other by asking, doing and exploring. The teacher is merely a facilitator. This “project-based” or “problem-based” learning is where many schools should be heading, Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Stan Heffner told The Enquirer last week. Read More…

Local Issues

  • Special ed spending soars in some districts (Hamilton Journal News)
  • In the past decade, the cost of educating special needs children has skyrocketed while the numbers of children with disabilities have shown only modest increases. An analysis of data from the Ohio auditor and the Ohio Department of Education shows that Butler County public school districts spent 158 percent more on special education between 2001 and 2010 while the number of special needs children has risen by 14 percent. Read More…

  • Cleveland mayor takes on teacher union over reform (Associated Press)
  • CLEVELAND - The mayor wants to give his hand-picked superintendent the power to reassign bad teachers, reshape failing schools and stagger class times without union contract barriers. Mayor Frank Jackson, the only Ohio mayor who controls schools through an appointed board, angered fellow Democrats and the party's labor allies by challenging timeworn teacher union contracts. "What we will not accept is incremental change or the belief that everything is OK and we should continue down the same path," he said in a city hall interview. "That is not acceptable to us." Read More…

  • Future cloudy for alternative school existence (Chillicothe Gazette)
  • CHILLICOTHE -- The Ross-Pike Educational Service District might shutter its alternative school after Ross County's school superintendents said they're unlikely to send students there in the future. "It's a possibility," Ross-Pike ESD Superintendent Steve Martin said of the rumored closure. "It's a possibility every year." Martin confirmed, at a recent meeting, the superintendents indicated they probably would stop using the alternative school as a disciplinary tool for disruptive students beginning with the 2012-13 school year. Read More…

  • Westfall discipline case raises questions about public files (Chilicothe Gazette)
  • WILLIAMSPORT -- A principal is without a job and a teacher is on thin ice after a recent personnel investigation at Westfall High School that was conducted mostly behind closed doors. Tom Lehman, the school's principal since August 2008, agreed to resign April 5, ending an investigation that began in February with questions about his professional conduct. Superintendent Cara Riddel said she often had clashed with Lehman since joining the district in summer 2011, but it was his violation of part of the Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators that led to his suspension Feb. 21 and ultimately his resignation. Read More…

Editorial & Opinion

  • Hold charter schools to task (Warren Chronicle Tribune)
  • Charter schools - private institutions operating with subsidies from the government - can provide invaluable alternatives to public education in some areas. But they have to play by the rules, too. That has not been the case in Ohio for many years, to judge by revelations about financial mismanagement at some charter schools. Read More…

Teacher Retention: Estimating and Understanding the Effects of Financial Incentives

There is currently much interest in improving access to high-quality teachers (Clotfelter, Ladd, & Vigdor, 2010; Hanushek, 2007) through improved recruitment and retention. Prior research has shown that it is difficult to retain teachers, particularly in high-poverty schools (Boyd et al., 2011; Ingersoll, 2004). Although there is no one reason for this difficulty, there is some evidence to suggest teachers may leave certain schools or the profession in part because of dissatisfaction with low salaries (Ingersoll, 2001).

Thus, it is possible that by offering teachers financial incentives, whether in the form of alternative compensation systems or standalone bonuses, they would become more satisfied with their jobs and retention would increase. As of yet, however, support for this approach has not been grounded in empirical research.

Denver’s Professional Compensation System for Teachers (“ProComp”) is one of the most prominent alternative teacher compensation reforms in the nation.* Via a combination of ten financial incentives, ProComp seeks to increase student achievement by motivating teachers to improve their instructional practices and by attracting and retaining high-quality teachers to work in the district.

My research examines ProComp in terms of: 1) whether it has increased retention rates; 2) the relationship between retention and school quality (defined in terms of student test score growth); and 3) the reasons underlying these effects. I pay special attention to the effects of ProComp on schools that serve high concentrations of poor students – “Hard to Serve” (HTS) schools where teachers are eligible to receive a financial incentive to stay. The quantitative findings are discussed briefly below (I will discuss my other results in a future post).

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The full paper can is below:


Teaching Experience Matters

Decades before he became the 2005-2006 New York State Teacher of the Year and was heralded as one of the nation’s leading educators, Stephen Bongiovi almost became something far less glamorous – fired.

The retired English teacher from Long Island was reviewing his personnel files as part of the teacher of the year application process when he received a shock – after his first year of teaching, at least one administrator recommended that he not be retained.

“Someone must have stood up for me,” Bongiovi said, because he was invited back and was allowed to continue what became a stellar career.

But at a time when education “reformers” are criticizing seniority-based layoff policies that prioritize teacher experience, or are advocating for alternative certification programs that may provide only a couple months of teacher preparation, Bongiovi’s story is a powerful reminder that great teachers are not made overnight. Experience matters.

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