OEA Response to PD and NPR Teacher shaming

Here's the statement from the Ohio Education Association, which represents over 121,000 educators

Responding to a series of newspaper, web and radio stories on value-added scroes of individual Ohio teachers, Patricia Frost-Brooks, President of the Ohio Education Association criticized the fairness of the stories and the wisdom of using value-added scores as such a prominent index of teacher success:

"The Ohio Education Association was not contacted for comment on the Plain Dealer/StateImpact Ohio stories, despite our expertise, which would have provided desperately needed context and perspective. Reporters and editors admitted this value-added data was 'flawed,' but they chose surprise and impact over fairness, balance and accuracy," Frost-Brooks said.

"We are all accountable for student success – teachers, support professionals, parents, students and elected officials. And the Ohio Education Association is committed to fair teacher evaluation systems that include student performance, among other multiple measures. But listing teachers as effective or ineffective based on narrow tests not designed to be used for this purpose is a disservice to everyone.

"Value-added ratings can never paint a complete or objective picture of an individual teacher’s work or performance. Trained educators can use a student’s value-added data, along with other student data, to improve student instruction. But the stories promote a simplistic and inaccurate view of value-added as a valid basis for high-stakes decisions on schools, teachers and students."

Very questionable that reporters would not contact the largest teachers assoication in crafting their story.

"Education Reform" process must change

William Phillis, Via the mailbag

The recently adopted "education reform" process seems to follow these steps:

· State officials assume that any deficiencies in student test scores, behavior, work force readiness, college readiness, etc. are due to the lack of competence and dedication of boards of education, administrators, educators and staff in the public common school. (Of course, some of them believe poverty and home environment do not influence test scores, behaviors, etc.)

· State officials are provided model reform legislation by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and seek advice from corporate leaders and others not working in the public common school system. A token representation of public education personnel may also be consulted.

· "Reforms" such as the parent trigger, vouchers, charter schools, mayoral control of schools, appointed commissions to assume part of the functions of boards of education, tuition tax credits, third grade guarantee, high stakes testing, replacement of teachers and administrators in "failing schools", A-F report cards, etc. are enacted with the expectation that these quick fixes will work wonders.

· In all cases the local education community typically attempts to comply with the state's reforms.

· When local educators and administrators don't fully embrace these untested "reforms", they are considered to be stuck in their old ways, resistant to change and not fit for the position they hold.

· Some state officials attempt to intimidate those who don't "buy-in" to the ever changing "reform" ideas. Then local education personnel are told that they would buy-in if they really would take the time to understand the "reform." · When the "reform" measures don't produce extraordinary results, the local education personnel are to blame and thus the system should be farmed out to the private sector.

We'd just add that by the time corporate reform ideas are proven to be failures (such as NCLB) the politiciand responsible for them are long gone and educators are left to pick up the pieces.

Education News for 05-17-2013

State Education News

  • Legislature could require Columbus school levy to support charters (Columbus Dispatch)
  • After a mayoral education commission recommended sharing Columbus schools’ property- tax dollars with charters, two lawmakers introduced a bill yesterday requiring that such a levy go before district voters…Read more...

  • Educators, legislators aren’t on same page on Ohio school reforms (Columbus Dispatch)
  • A survey of more than half of Ohio school superintendents revealed, with few exceptions, a wide gap between themselves and legislators…Read more...

  • Legislator’s plan would provide preschool vouchers for 22,000 (Columbus Dispatch)
  • A Senate Republican leader on education policy wants to create a $100 million voucher program over the next two years to allow thousands…Read more...

  • Brookfield schools unsure of fiscal future (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • The state auditor’s office said the district will face fiscal emergency even if a school levy is certified as passed…Read more...

Local Education News

  • BYOD program makes learning fun (Lorain Morning Journal)
  • Usually students are discouraged from bringing electronic devices into the classroom. The fifth grade classes at Ely Elementary School in Elyria, though, are encouraged to bring their iPhones, iPads…Read more...

  • Avon Lake schools put new student safety plan into motion (Lorain Morning Journal)
  • In light of recent school shootings, students and staff at Avon Lake schools have a new safety plan in place to ward off intruders and bullies…Read more...

  • Bedford Schools to lay off 14 to 17 teachers, educators (Toledo Blade)
  • The Bedford Public Schools will send layoff notices to 15 teachers and other educators for the next school year to help close a persistent operating deficit. The board of education authorized the potential pink slips…Read more...


  • Lack of a guarantee (Akron Beacon Journal)
  • Beginning next school year, with a few exceptions, Ohio third-graders who are unable to read at a level specified by the state will not be promoted to fourth grade…Read more...

  • Partners for change (Akron Beacon Journal)
  • The Cleveland school district is making itself a showcase of how to go about transforming a school system. Last week, the district and its teachers union unveiled a tentative…Read more...

Advertorials in standardized tests?

A strange story out of New York

At least a half-dozen companies got an unexpected boost in marketing their brands to New York’s children this week — with free product placement on the state’s English exams.

Teachers and students said yesterday’s multiple-choice section of the eighth-grade tests name-dropped at least a handful of companies or products — including Mug Root Beer, LEGO and that company’s smart robots, Mindstorms.

IBM, the comic book and TV show “Teen Titans” and FIFA — the international soccer federation — were also mentioned in the test booklets, some of them with what educators referred to as out-of-place trademark symbols.

“I’ve been giving this test for eight years and have never seen the test drop trademarked names in passages — let alone note the trademark at the bottom of the page,” said one teacher who administered the exam.

How long before corporate education boosters push for companies to pay for advertising within standardized tests?

Education News for 03-22-2013

Local Education News

  • Canton schools superintendent outlines reorganization plan Akron Beacon Journal)
  • A wide-ranging plan for Canton City Schools that would introduce more choice is taking aim at publicly funded charter schools that pull students — and money — from traditional buildings…Read more...

  • Conneaut school officials unveil defense plan Ashtabula Star-Beacon)
  • School officials in Conneaut unveiled their defense plan to parents and the public in case of an armed intruder Thursday night in the first of four meetings scheduled at each of the districts buildings…Read more...

  • Educators say “stop the misuse of standardized testing” Athens Messenger)
  • Those who think there’s an over-use of standardized testing in public schools have signed an online petition…Read more...

  • Reform not often demanded of school boards, panel told Columbus Dispatch)
  • Voters typically don’t replace ineffective school board members and rarely demand reform from failing districts, an education policy expert told the Columbus Education Commission yesterday…Read more...

  • Jackson school board member guilty in threats Columbus Dispatch)
  • A 25-year member of the Jackson City Schools Board of Education has been found guilty of intimidation of a public servant for sending threatening letters to educators and other school-board members in the southeastern Ohio district…Read more...

  • Strongsville Mayor's proposed meeting with teachers, school board is shot down Sun Newspapers)
  • Mayor Thomas Perciak's proposed negotiating meeting between the board and teachers union representatives at 10 a.m. March 22 has fallen through…Read more...

  • Parents share concerns over Supt. Hathorn's schools plan Youngstown Vindicator)
  • Gertrude and Alvin Hosea can live with city schools Superintendent Connie Hathorn’s revitalization plan for the schools as long as their granddaughter gets to stay at Kirkmere Elementary School next year…Read more...

SB21 - Brings changes to 3rd grade reading law

Earlier this week, the Ohio Senate passed SB21 (30-1), a bill that would alter requirements of the 3rd grade reading guarantee. The changes were a positive step, and will make it easier for schools and educators to meet the standard, that previously were nearly impossible to meet.

According to a Gongwer report

The bill would eliminate language that required teachers to "be actively engaged in the reading instruction of students for the previous three years," which was seen as a roadblock to hiring new teachers or other qualified educators and was considered a very difficult or nearly impossible standard to meet.

"Given the importance of the third-grade reading guarantee to the future of our children, we listened very carefully" to the suggestions of principals and superintendents, sponsoring Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) said.

The bill also includes

  • Closing the loophole whereby a child could avoid being held back by skipping the test.
  • Exempts students who have significant cognitive disabilities
  • Removes "credential" and replaces it with "completion of a program" which would cover programs, such as Orton-Gillingham, that do not produce a credential upon completion.
  • Replaces a value-added score requirement when the teacher is an effective reading instructor, as determined by criteria established by ODE.
  • Allows schools the authority to get a waiver by resolution for their action plan required when the district is unable to hire sufficient teachers with the approved credentials.

The lone no vote was Sen. Joe Schiavoni who said he voted against the bill because, although he supports the policy, the lack of funding is a problem.

"We need to put the $130 million, the $100 million-dollar tag on this to help schools pay for this," he said.

Sen. Gardner, who will chair the subcommittee that will hear the K-12 portion of the budget bill, said he expects to see bicameral, bipartisan support to provide more funding to support the goals of the TGRG in that legislation.

Let's hope so. It's not often we get education bills moving in the right direction. This bill still needs to pass the House.

You can read the full text of the bill, here. For those who would prefer a more plain english explanation, here's LSC's analysis.

SB21 - 3rd Grade Reading Guarantee Changes by