What teachers didn't tell the governor

The Governor's education Czar, Robert Sommers, and his assistant Sarah Dove have finally published their report based upon feedback received via a web form regarding their corporate education reform proposals. The report can be read below.

We don't need to mention how this report lacks any scientific validity, because the reports authors do that for us

This summary is not meant to be a scientific compilation of the information. It is intended, rather, to present the general sentiment of the productive comments received. It is acknowledged that in any particular category, comments were received that would range across the entire spectrum of pros and cons.

It's one of the few honest things said in this highly charged and political document. Despite admitting that the methodology of this study is not sound, almost every single section of this document begins with the phrase "Teachers believe". In many cases what is asserted that teachers believe is not even supported by the actual feedback teachers provided. Earlier in the year, in a 5 part series, we published many of the actual comments teachers provided as input to this process. You can find that series here:

The report concludes with recommendations from a "steering committee". But we're never told who served on that committee, only that

"Robert Sommers, Director of the Governor’s Office of 21st Century Education, and Sarah Dove, Ohio’s Teacher Liaison, assembled a steering committee consisting of a cross-section of teachers representing schools and educators across the state.

When a document presents recommendations, do readers not deserve to know who exactly are making these recommendations, what the process for approving them was, and if there was any dissension?UPDATE: Commitee list is burried at the end of the document in the appendix, with no mention of who each person is, or who they represent.

Furthermore, for a process that had very little stakeholder input at all, this recommendation stood out for its audacity

The Ohio Department of Education must commit to providing increased communications with teachers about new evaluation and compensation models.

Little effort has been expended by the Department of Education in educating teachers on where the state is and where it is headed in the areas of evaluation and compensation. By providing teachers with a “big picture” version of the state’s evaluation framework, the state can lay the groundwork for educated and committed teachers. The Department of Education must reach out and collaborate with key stakeholders to assist with getting the needed communications to teachers and leaders across the state. ODE should develop and implement a strategic communications plan to identify key messages, important milestones and identify who is responsible for sharing information.

We agree, but are left wondering why this wasn't done during the preparation of this document?

At the end of the day however the biggest question we are left with is this, what is the point and purpose of this document from the governor's office? The Department of Education has already released its framework for evaluations. The ESB has worked for 2 years on the details of an evaluation system and local school districts and education associations have been working together on developing systems to meet RttT requirements. This flimsy, unscientific, political document, developed by an unnamed steering committee has added nothing to any of these efforts.

Ohio Evaluation Comp Reform

Attack PAC - "Stop Public Unions Now" Spotted!

The Sunlight Foundation reports alarming news that millionaires money, funneled through a shady organization, is going to be used to attack public employees in the coming months.

A new Super PAC has launched with the very timely name Stop Public Unions Now. This political committee launches as Republican governors across the country launch broadsides against public employee unions, often meeting with powerful reactions from unions and negative reactions from the public.

The new PAC has ties to one of those governors. Oxford Communications CEO William O. Black is listed as Treasurer of Stop Public Unions Now and the direct market agency has touted its work for Governor John Kasich's 2010 campaign.

Kasich, along with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, have led the way for governors going after public employee unions. Kasich has proposed limiting public employee unions collective bargaining rights to only cover wages. This has provoked a sharp reaction from the unions and the public. Kasich's poll numbers have plummeted and the public now says they would support former Governor Ted Strickland, defeated by Kasich, by a fifteen point margin. In Wisconsin, Walker has also seen his public standing fall after his very public battle with the state's public employee unions and Democratic senators.

Oxford Communications has operated as treasurer for numerous political action committees over the years. They have also provided services for a number of campaigns, many of which are in Ohio.

The creation of this PAC may be to bring some money into the PR battle. The PAC will be able to raise unlimited funds under the SpeechNow clause.

Super PACs were created after the vs. FEC court ruling expanded on the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling by allowing political action committees to raise unlimited funds provided that they only spend that money on political activities.