Education News for 03-08-2013

State Education News

  • Charter schools decry proposed cuts in state funding (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Charter-school supporters like to tout that the privately operated, tax-funded schools do more to improve student achievement with less money than traditional public schools…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Rotary Club, UA unite to promote child literacy in Akron schools (Akron Beacon Journal)
  • Kolaiah White looks comfortable in front of 75 fidgeting third-graders…Read more...

  • Medina school superintendent to give back bonus amid community protest (Akron Beacon Journal)
  • Medina’s school superintendent agreed Thursday to give back a bonus and potential merit raises in his new contract…Read more...

  • Tax ruling may cost county, schools millions (Hamilton Journal-News)
  • A ruling granting a West Chester Twp. hospital a tax exemption for charitable purposes may mean the loss of millions to Butler County and the Lakota Local School District…Read more...

  • Clear Fork student drug test policy updated (Mansfield News Journal)
  • The Clear Fork Board of Education will consider changes to a proposed plan to drug test student-athletes and drivers…Read more...

  • Armed resource officer hired for Sandy Valley schools (New Philadelphia Times-Reporter)
  • As superintendent of Sandy Valley Local School District, David Janofa believes his district is among the safest in the Tuscarawas Valley…Read more...

Evaluations gone wild

Now that teacher evaluations are the latest education reform fad, all manner of crazy ideas are being put forward, and in some cases, being implements.

Local Teachers' Merit Pay Hinges on How Well They Engage with Parents

At Wendell High School, teachers will receive merit bonuses based on the percentage of parents who show up for the conferences.
Wendell Superintendent Greg Lowe said his district decided to base teacher bonuses on parent participation in high school conferences because it’s been a problem in the past.
Up to 70 percent of the possible bonus school employees can receive is based on how many parents show up for conferences throughout the year.

In order to earn the maximum bonus, 40 percent of parents must attend. Lowe said the percentage of parents who attended the first conference of the year was “way above that.”aaf1db459719.html#ixzz1btdJ5e6K

That may be one extreme example, but it is hardly the only one. We're also going to be using very young children to evaluate teachers, simply because, well, we can

D.C. public school second-graders will take the DC CAS for the first time this spring, part of an effort to expand the pool of teachers eligible to be evaluated on the “value-added” they bring to student test scores. Until recently, only grades 3 through 8 and high school sophomores took the exams.

Extending the CAS to second grade means that third-grade reading and math teachers will enter IMPACT’s “Group 1,” where half of their evaluation will be determined by their students’ ability to exceed projected levels of annual growth. DCPS needs second-grade test data to assemble a predictive model for the third-graders.

Teachers will now have to test their second grade students so that third grade teachers can be evaluated using test scores! It's like some circular logic of insanity.

Lost in all of this is whether it actually improves the quality of education, let alone the cost in time, money and moral. We really are in a period of reform gone wild.

Innovation Ohio highlight Issue 2 Pay, Perks and Hypocrisy

Innovation today released documents showing the hypocrisy demonstrated by those supporting SB5.

  • Gov. Kasich, whose annual salary is $148,165 (over $10,000 more than his predecessor received), is exempt from the “performance pay” provisions of SB 5, and is still eligible to receive automatic annual 3% “step increases” that SB 5 would terminate for other public workers;
  • Gov. Kasich, while repeatedly calling for cuts in the pay and benefits of state and local government workers, pays his own senior staff an average salary of over $110,000. And he has repeatedly fudged the numbers on what he pays all workers in his office. In April, he told the General Assembly that the Governor’s Office payroll was just over $4.8 million. But as of May 7, the actual figure was just over $5.4 million —12% more than what the Governor claimed;
  • Gov. Kasich’s 27 Cabinet members earn an average base pay of more than $131, 000 and at least 22 of them each receive an additional $6,600 per year in “car allowances.” At least 7 Cabinet members are also ‘double dippers” who receive state pensions in addition to their government salaries;
  • All Members of the Ohio General Assembly earn a base salary of $60,584 for working a part-time job (the average annual salary for all Ohio workers is just over $40,000). But among the 70 Representatives and Senators who voted for SB 5, just 8 earn that “minimum.” The other 62 receive “leadership bonuses” ranging from nearly $34,000 per year to $5,000 annually, with the average bonus being over $8,600. Sen. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati —the only current member of the Senate who does not receive a bonus and was in the Senate when the SB 5 vote took place —had his bonus taken away when he refused to support the legislation;
  • Though fiercely critical of “double dipping” by other public workers, 12 House and Senate members who support SB 5 are themselves double-dippers (one is a triple-dipper), and collect legislative salaries in addition to state pensions. Perhaps the biggest single double-dipper in Ohio is House Speaker Bill Batchelder, who receives over $100,000 in a PERS pension, on top of his $94,500 annual legislative salary;
  • Unlike regular Ohioans, who are prohibited by law from claiming “mileage reimbursements” for car travel to and from their principal places of work, Ohio House and Senate members voting for SB 5 collect an average of $3,361 per year for driving to the State House to do their jobs;
  • Under SB 5, paid sick leave and vacation days would be reduced for average public workers. But General Assembly members enjoy unlimited paid leave for any reason whatsoever, subject only to the “approval” of the House and Senate leadership, whose approval is rarely, if ever, denied;
  • Other perks for legislators abound, including thousands of dollars worth of free tickets to athletic events like football, basketball and baseball games, free meals, and other gifts.

The full litanty of hypocrisy can be found over at IO, here.

Courtesy of Ohio Capital Blog, here's video fo the press conference