Strong Schools - Strong Communities

Another pro-public education organization is joining the fray in Ohio. Strong Schools - Strong Communities. ABC 6 News reports on their announcement

Deb Papesh, a Dublin City Schools parent, had this to say about the groups formation

"I believe Strong Schools, Strong Communities is looking at that to see what they can they borrow from what we did to help on a more global level," she said following the press conference.

Papesh thinks communities across the state can help each other with campaigns that center on funding issues.

Right now those involved with Strong Schools, Strong Communities say their job is to keep an eye on and testify for or against any new legislation that affects public education in Ohio.

They also say they’re prepared to activate their network in the same way the grassroots organization We Are Ohio mobilized in 2011 to push back against a legislative effort to limit collective bargaining rights for public employees.

Teacher Donna O'Connor had this to say

“We believe a child’s ZIP code should not hinder their access to a high-quality public education. We will advocate for a fair and sustainable and equitable funding formula and educate the public as to next year’s budget and policies that come out of our next session.”

We encourage you to follow them on Facebook, here at www.facebook.com/StrongSchoolsOhio. You can also receive a weekly text message update by texting "SSSC" to 51555.

Here's a video fo the press conferecne event

Part one

Part two

Part three

There's a growing resistance in Ohio, to the corporate education movement.

An Open Letter to Ohio Women

Playing fair and playing by the rules are two of the most important lessons we teach our children. Unfortunately, Ohio politicians don’t want to play fair and they want to make their own rules. The system is rigged to allow the majority party to draw Statehouse and Congressional district lines to protect their own seats and their political party. Drawing district lines that determine who gets elected is how the politicians hold on to their power. In effect, they have turned our government from “We the People” into “We the Politicians”.

Passage of State Issue 2 will establish a system that takes the power away from politicians and gives good, decent people who want to fix our problems a real chance to compete against career politicians and win. We all want an impartial process AND WE CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN! The choices we make on November 6 will have a profound effect on the lives of our children and grandchildren.

Politicians will come and go, but the passage of State Issue 2 will help ensure that neither party can unfairly dominate state politics. When elections are fair and balanced the people of Ohio win.

In this election, you will have an opportunity to take a stand and vote YES on Issue 2. The system that decides who our elected officials are should be open to the public, transparent and without partisan manipulation.

As women, one a Republican and one a Democrat, we invite you to unite with us around issues of fairness and accountability. There is much wrong with politics but how we choose our elected officials should not be one of those wrongs. We can fix this problem once and for all.

Collectively, we must stand up and be heard. We must do this for our communities, our children, our values and our future. We have the chance to make a big difference in this election. Not in one politician’s life–but in the lives of all Ohioans.

Please help us by talking with your friends and neighbors about this important issue and share this message on Facebook, Twitter and your other social networks. To volunteer or learn how you can become more engaged on this issue, please email women@votersfirstohio.com and a Voters First representative will get back with you right away.

Leave a legacy. Vote for fairness, vote for our future, and vote YES on ISSUE 2.

Joan Lawrence
Former Member Ohio House of Representatives
League of Women Voters of Ohio, since 1957 State of Ohio

Frances Strickland
Former First Lady, State of Ohio

VIDEO: Merit Pay, Teacher Pay, and Value Added Measures

Value added measures sound fair, but they are not. In this video Prof. Daniel Willingham describes six problems (some conceptual, some statistical) with evaluating teachers by comparing student achievement in the fall and in the spring.

What teachers are telling the Governor: Day 5

Previous days comments can be found here:

Today's installment covers perhaps the most common theme encountered when reading through submissions made by educators regarding the idea of merit pay. Fairness. It's a theme that runs through so many of the comments we have spent time reading. The concern is deep and wide, and the lack of transparency and apparent partisanship being exhibted by those involved in the development process is causing deep anxiety within the education professions ranks

I am concerned about pay based on performance of students. In the field of Arts, Music, and Phys. Ed., we see all the children in assigned grade levels within a school and help children establish right brain and left brain thinking which can be different ways than their classroom teacher might require. It would be difficult to measure this type of performance. Also we see some teachers who have classes that are functioning at a lower level and sometimes, they do remarkable things with those students, other times those students might wind up on an IEP so they can receive the specialized attention that they need to move forward. This is not a reflection of the teacher, but rather demonstrates how some students don't advance at the "normal expected" rates of their peers. I don't see why teachers could then be penalized for that as well...which will happen in a "performance based pay". This is why I find it hard to conceive how this concept of "performance based pay" would be fair or even recognize a teachers success. Thank you for considering this fact.
Not and idea, but questions. How will the pay of teachers be determined by merit? What are the exact parameters? How will the pay of teachers not involved in standardized testing be determined? Will this not lead to the most experienced teachers being released from duty simply because of their expense?
I don't think that there is a fair way to do performance based pay for teachers. This will turn into a system of the administration picking out their friends for pay raises and leaving everyone else at the bottom of the pay scale. Their is no way to know how a teacher is effecting a student. I have had students that I thought that I did not reach, but later, after they graduate, they tell me that I was the reason they stayed in school and did well.
Teachers would absorb better this if you would just be fair: elected officials are public employees, yet you are not including yourselves in this merit pay plan. Senators and some representatives make more now than we'll make at any point in our careers (especially those of us who teach in rural Ohio), yet you place yourselves above your own mandates. We've already proven ourselves: we had to pass student teaching, get the degree, pass the Praxis / NTE, and we work harder every year to improve our district's report cards. My school has been excellent the last five years, excellent with distinction at least the last two years. You? Your only "test" is the election process. You didn't take a test to prove that you know anything about Ohio history, current events, or fiscal responsibility, characteristics that all elected officials should possess. You don't have to prove that you've connected with your constituents; that your constituents have better lives because of your work. We've proven our merit. With all due respect, when will you prove yours?
It is hard to understand how teachers will equitably be able to have their pay tied to student acheivement. How will teachers that do not teach a tested area be evaluated? How will the "human" factor of our product be accounted for? How will teachers in low income districts be fairly evaluated? I'm all for making sure that we have high quality teachers, but using student achievement or satisfaction cannot fairly evaluate a teacher's worth and will only drive good people away from the teaching profession. I also find it interesting that the state of Ohio after all of these years has still not figured out how to fund our education system and has yet to comply with the Supreme Court decisions about state funding. And yet we want teacher's pay to be related to a system of evaluations that are already flawed.

Right now the process isn't fair, isn't open, and lacks any collaboration and cooperation. That needs to change.

What teachers are telling the Governor: Day 1

The Governor and his education Czar, Bob Sommers, have been requesting teacher input via a web form as they attempt to design a teacher evaluation and merit pay system. We here at JTF continue to believe the best way to achieve this isn't through random submissions via the web, but in a more deliberative and collaborative manner with stakeholders and subject matter experts.

But since this common sense approach has been set aside, we thought we should share the input teachers and others are providing the Governor through is website governor.ohio.gov/Contact/Teachers.aspx. We obtained these responses via a public records request. We'll publish a representative selection of responses each day. We have decided not to publish the names or contact information of any respondants.

Subject: "Merit Pay"
Dear Governor Kasich,
My first suggestions is to create a team of teachers and administrators to head this committee. We need people with a background and degree in education. A qualified person would have to have been in a classroom setting in their adult life. A person with a business degree would not be qualified to discuss this issue. A set criteria would need to be developed based on a set number of students in the classroom. You can not judge someone who has 20 students in a classroom verses a teacher with 30 students in the classroom in the same manner. The amount of students who are at risk or have special needs would need to be spread out evenly throughout the teachers at each grade level. That way the test scores would be more even throughout the grade level. This is just my first few thoughts concerning "fair" merit pay. I will continue to send emails concerning this issue.
Thank you,
----- -------
Highland Local School District
Medina, Ohio
Subject: Evaluate this...
I'd like to ask the Governor to take on a typical American class of 45 low-income mixed grade junior high students in an inner city school himself for at least one month and allow a panel of senior teachers (20 years+ experience) to evaluate his ability to lead in this situation and to bet his governorship on getting success for learning with this underfunded class of kids while on a teacher's wage.
Subject: fair method to pay teachers fairly
Governor, I am a retired teacher in Ohio after a 31 year career in Trumbull County. Considering all they do, much of it "off the clock", teachers have never been paid what they are worth and probably never will. But, for the largest majority, teachers are quite intelligent, tending toward altruism, and fair minded folks. The best way to come close to making sure they are payed fairly is to KEEP AND CONTINUE USING COLLECTIVE BARGAINING.

Maybe the process needs a bit of an overhaul, but to get rid of it totally is throwing the baby out with the bath water. Collective bargaining may not be in our country's constitution, but intelligent people over a long and intense history hammered out this process and it is a good one, very much in keeping with democratic principles. All people in this country have the right to speak for themselves in order to be treated fairly. All people of the world have this right whether it is honored or not. Most especially in the USA, that right should always be honored.

Collective bargaining for all public employees, including teachers, needs to be maintained in Ohio and restored or instituted in all other states where the process either doesn't exist or is being threatened. Thank you,

Subject: Fair pay for teachers
Governor Kasich,
“Fairness” cannot be legislated. The complexities are too subtle, and too large, to be encompassed in any law. The fair way to arrive at fair compensation and fair benefits for teachers is through collective bargaining.
That’s all!

Finally for today,

Subject: No Subject
Funding for public education has been identified as illegal for years. You should be doing something to make funding more equitable so students' have the same advantages in their schools across the state; instead you want to increase salaries in salary heavy districts. Teachers who usually have the highest success rate also usually work in the wealthiest districts. The rich will get richer and we poor will stay poor.

We'll bring you more thoughts and comments tomorrow - we have over 1,300 to go through...