Education News for 12-18-2012

State Education News

  • Local schools look at a different disaster plan (Columbus Dispatch)
  • The staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary did what they were supposed to do: The principal and school psychologist tried to stop the gunman when he blasted his way into the building…Read more...

  • Overseer of state’s colleges to retire (Columbus Dispatch)
  • After nearly 30 years of public service, Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Jim Petro will retire on Feb. 1 to spend time lecturing about one of his passions: the problem of wrongful imprisonment…Read more...

  • Attendance probe holds up teacher bonuses (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Potentially hundreds of Columbus City Schools teachers are waiting on bonuses until after a state audit of the district’s data reporting is complete…Read more...

  • Train, arm teachers for defense (Marion Star)
  • Having responsible adults with guns in schools should be part of a comprehensive effort to protect children from tragedies, according to the chairman of the Ohio’s gun lobby…Read more...

  • Cleveland State University criminologist says schools are still the safest place (WEWS)
  • The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown…Read more...

  • Fiscal panel OKs contract (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • The current contract between the city school district and its teachers union was approved by the state fiscal commission before going to the school board for approval…Read more...

  • State Commission isn't ready to approve a new district treasurer (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • Liberty school board is ready to bring on a new district treasurer, but the state-appointed commission needs more time before giving its OK…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Cleveland school students can succeed in college, officials say (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • More Cleveland students will head to college ready to succeed and will leave campus with their degrees if members of a strong, evolving partnership have their way…Read more...

  • Bullying prevention an on-going task for schools (Hamilton Journal-News)
  • The battle against bullying is a daily, on-going activity, according to local educators…Read more...


  • Youngstown school system’s problems continue (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • In what universe is it acceptable in this day and age for one of the most troubled school districts in the state of Ohio to have one of the most expensive health insurance plans? …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.

NYCS abandons merit pay failure

From the NYT, as the largest school district in the country abandons teacher merit pay because it didn't work, Ohio is about to adopt it

A New York City program that distributed $56 million in performance bonuses to teachers and other school staff members over the last three years will be permanently discontinued, the city Department of Education said on Sunday.

The decision was made in light of a study that found the bonuses had no positive effect on either student performance or teachers’ attitudes toward their jobs.

Study after study finds that student test scores do not improve because teachers are compensated with bonus's and merit pay. Instead what we are seeing as these corporate education reforms spread is more corporate type behaviors, such as pressure to cheat.

What happens to merit pay without the pay?

A reader brought this article to our attention. One of the items you will notice if you study the corporate reform plans being pushed for teacher merit pay, is the focus on firing "bad teachers", what you hear very little about is the pay aspect to "merit pay".

The largest teacher merit pay program in the nation is no more, reduced to a shell of its former self after having 90 percent of its funding slashed in the Texas budget crunch.

About 180,000 teachers—more than half the state's total—will receive bonus checks this fall for their work in the just concluded school year. But over the next two years, when state funding plummets, there will be enough money for only 18,000 to receive bonuses.

Originally trumpeted by Gov. Rick Perry and legislative leaders as the wave of the future in public education, the program fell victim to the scaled-back budget approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor last week. The state is spending $392 million in the current two-year budget on the District Awards for Teacher Excellence program but will have just $40 million for it in the next one.

All the downsides to the policy, without the rewards for excellence. Sounds very much like the plans the Ohio legislature have.