NPR StateImpact has published a story about the Governor's education Czar and teacher liaison's unusual approach to developing a teacher evaluation system
As Dove explains it, her job now is to gather input from teachers on the new evaluation system and performance pay plans coming to Ohio public schools and to package it into a report later this year for Robert Sommers, the governor’s lead education advisor, and the Ohio Board of Education.
“I’m here to advocate for my profession,” said Dove, who met Kasich while working as a production assistant on his Fox News show, before she decided to become a teacher.
Sounds great in theory, only in practice the effort is less sincere
What Dove hasn’t been doing in her role as Ohio’s teacher liaison is talking with education union leaders. She and Sommers have held 19 meetings with teachers to hear their thoughts on how they should be evaluated and paid. But those meetings have been by-invitation-only. Leaders of the Ohio Education Association and the Ohio Federation of Teachers have not received invites.
“I’m going through the emails that we’ve received and looking for people that have valuable things to add. We’re meeting with those people,” Dove said.
As the NPR article points out, the Education Standards Board has already spent a number of years developing an evaluation system, and has done so in collaboration with teachers and their associations. It's a process with buy-in and credibility.
Why the Governor's Education Czar, Robert Sommers, and his appointed teacher liaison would want to try to develop this parallel track isn't totally clear, though the partisan disdain for education associations should be noted throughout the article.
What is clear is that this self selecting, somewhat petty and amateurish approach to public policy development can only lead to policy that has no credibility and sustainability.
Mr. Sommers may feel like he can avoid having serious discussions with education associations and their professionals, but with SB5's future very uncertain, any teacher evaluation system is going to need the buy-in from associations in order to pass muster through any collective bargaining agreement.
It's not like Education associations and federations are opposed to evaluation measures, as has been pointed out, they have worked diligently as part of the ESB to develop frameworks. Further evidence of reform minded approaches can be seen in the Cincinnati Public Schools, where we reported some time ago that the teachers entered into a merit pay and evaluation system not dissimilar to what some reformers would prefer.
If Mr. Sommers wants an evaluation system that has credibility, sustainability and can be adopted under collective bargaining, then it's high time he and his liaison started having serious discussions with all the major stakeholders, not just some select meetings with a chosen few, spattered with a few caustic Facebook and Twitter messages designed to needle many of those who the policies seek to affect.