Despite these workplace challenges, teachers love their work and the life it produces
Despite these workplace challenges, teachers love their work and the life it produces
StudentsFirst released their "education policy report card" which they describe thusly
They give each state a GPA based upon how much of StudentsFirst policy prescriptions have been implemented. We thought it would be interesting to look at the correlation between StudentsFirst "GPA" and the NAEP scores to see how well the policies StudentsFirst wants legislators to pursue stacks up against actually academic results.
The results are quite clear and unambiguous - following the policy prescriptions of StudentsFirst is bad for academic performance.
As you can see, in both 4th and 8th grade reading and math, the higher the StudentsFirst grade the lower the students performance. Yet more proof that StudentsFirst is not an education reform organization, but instead an extreme right wing anti-tax group funded by billionaires.
Tuesday, August 29 was the first day of the RNC convention. As part of their proceedings, they released their education platform, which takes a sideswipe at educators
Education is much more than schooling. It is the whole range of activities by which families and communities transmit to a younger generation, not just knowledge and skills, but ethical and behavioral norms and traditions. It is the handing over of a personal and cultural identity. That is why education choice has expanded so vigorously. It is also why American education has, for the last several decades, been the focus of constant controversy, as centralizing forces outside the family and community have sought to remake education in order to remake America. They have not succeeded, but they have done immense damage.
Privatization and "choice" also take prominent position in the platform, as Ed Week notes
•Pushes what does works in the GOP view instead of more funding: accountability on the part of administrators, parents and teachers; higher academic standards; programs that support the development of character and financial literacy; and periodic testing in math, science, reading, history, and geography.
•Calls for rigorous academic standards, but doesn't actually mention the words "Common Core State Standards Initiative." Instead, it "affirms higher expectations for all students and rejects the crippling bigotry of low expectations."
The biggest news from day 1 of the RNC Convention had little to do with education at all. According to widespread media reports, an attendee at the Republican National Convention threw nuts at a black camerawoman working for CNN and said “This is how we feed animals”.
This shocking and ugly event followed on from an earlier event that was similarly ugly
Later in the evening Ann Romney spoke, and so did Governor Christie - both appearing to speak at cross purposes.
Tonight I want to talk to you about love. I want to talk to you about the deep and abiding love I have for a man I met at a dance many years ago. And the profound love I have, and I know we share, for this country. I want to talk to you about that love so deep only a mother can fathom it — the love we have for our children and our children's children.
Chris Christie, 20 minutes later:
But I have learned over time that it applies just as much to leadership. In fact, I think that advice applies to America today more than ever. I believe we have become paralyzed by our desire to be loved.
While Ohio Governor John Kasich didn't speak of love, he did espousethe economic recovery in Ohio. He failed to mention however, the repeal of SB5 and his own budget that has caused a school funding crisis and local tax hikes.
So that was an eventful day 1. Probably a day the GOP would like to have back.
Education sector has published a survey of teachers and their attitudes towards a number of issues, including their unions. Their top findings should come as little surprise to anyone who has been following the education policy debate in Ohio. Their report is titled "Trending Towards Reform", it might more appropriately be titled, "Leading Reform".
Since 2007, teachers have demonstrated strong and significant increases in their support for unions. In 2007, 24 percent of union members were involved and engaged in their local union; in 2011, 38 percent were. This isn’t surprising— with layoffs looming and constant policy changes, teachers are seeking security and turning to the one place they know they can find it: the union. Eighty-one percent of teachers say that without a union, teachers would be vulnerable to school politics or administrators who abuse their power.
In Ohio, this level of engagement has been even higher, due in large part to the significant budget implemented by the Governor, and of course the roll back of SB5 which sought to all but eliminate collective bargaining for public employees.
Teachers want more from their unions than traditional “bread and butter” basics. For example, among teachers who say their union does not currently negotiate evaluation, 75 percent say the union should play this role. Are teachers more supportive of union involvement because they view evaluation as important and in need of overhaul? Perhaps. Or teachers may want unions more involved in the negotiation process because they are concerned about the seemingly inevitable changes that are coming to evaluation.
Our experience has been that it is because of the latter. Indeed, education associations have been deeply involved in education reform. Around half of Ohio's school districts have engaged in some form of Race to the Top which requires association support, not to mention the reforms that teachers unions in Cincinnati and of course, Cleveland have embarked upon.
Compared to 2007, teachers’ overall assessment of their most recent formal evaluation improved. They are more likely to say that their evaluation was useful and effective by seven percentage points, and less likely to say it was just a formality by nine. Still, 35 percent continue to describe their evaluation as “well-intentioned but not particularly helpful” to their teaching practice. While the numbers show a notable improvement over the four years, it’s clear that evaluation must improve further.
This section of the survey is perhaps the most misleading. Evaluation systems such as the one being attempted to be implemented in Ohio are not yet off the ground, so attitudes towards their acceptance are yet to be determined.
As you can see from the results above, only 16% of survey respondents had student test scores used as part of their evaluation - that number is going to climb rapidly over the next few years, and along with it, we suspect, the number of teachers reporting a fair evaluation will fall.
Teachers are most in favor of pay reforms based on factors they can control, such as their school and the subject they teach. The less control teachers feel they have over performance measures, like student test scores, the less likely they will support proposals that tie pay to performance. In fact, only 35 percent favor financial incentives for teachers whose students routinely score higher than similar students on standardized tests. A much larger proportion (57 percent) support higher pay for teachers who consistently receive outstanding evaluations by their principals, indicating a pay-for-performance plan that may be more agreeable to teachers.
This is a response that corporate education reformers simply do not understand, and will no accept. Teachers are not looking for pay schemes that a Wall Street day trader would enjoy.
Teachers want to keep tenure—only one-third would consider trading tenure for a $5,000 pay bonus. But they are ready and willing to make changes to tenure-related dismissal policies to ensure that tenure is not, as AFT president Randi Weingarten said, “a shield for incompetence.” Seventy-five percent of teachers think the union should play a role in simplifying the process of removing ineffective teachers instead of leaving it to district and school administrators, compared to 63 percent of teachers in 2007.
This has been said by teachers over and over again, and yet opponents of teachers and their unions continue to deny it. The charge that teachers and their unions want to protect ineffective teachers is simply false, but what they don't want is a process whereby a capricious administration can dismiss teachers without reasonable cause.
The entire survey and it's findings can be found below.
As its inner workings have been revealed over the past few months, one thing is clear about the American Legislative Exchange Council, the radical conservative “bill mill” that gives powerful corporations access to lawmakers: The group makes no apologies for putting the needs of Corporate America, and the wealthy citizens it comprises, before those of middle class America.
The same could be said of presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Earlier this week, Romney finally got around to introducing some details of his education policy —and much of what he said might as well have been churned out at a meeting of ALEC’s education task force.
Here are top priorities they share:
ALEC has generated model legislation that would give tax breaks to families wealthy enough to have college savings accounts—which many middle class families cannot afford. Other model bills would direct public funds to private universities through higher education vouchers.
So what’s it like for educators when top decision makers sign off on anti-public education legislation? Just ask a teacher from a state where ALEC-friendly lawmakers and governors have already had their way.
“Wisconsin has been slowly going private for years,” says Milwaukee kindergarten teacher Tiffanie Lawson. “And these for-profit charters are not held to the same standards that we are–we’re talking about teachers who don’t have teaching degrees. We’ve seen so much corruption with money going to the choice and charter schools that should be going to the public schools.” (Read more about ALEC’s shocking degree of influence in Wisconsin in the Center for Media and Democracy’s recently released “Wisconsin: The Hijacking of a State.”)
“We see students who leave our schools to go to these charters come back to us,” said Lawson, “because they realize they’re not getting the education they deserve and that the public schools offer what they need: the support, the services. And we need the resources to keep all of that going for our kids.”
Education is often referred to as an investment in our future, and undoubtedly it is, as we prepare our young people to enter the workforce with creativity, energy and entrepreneurship. However, modest investment increases in public education also have an immediate, and direct, beneficial effect upon those making the investments.
This is clear evidence that investing a few hundred dollars per year to increase your local schools performance will have a dramatic effect on your home values - typically $11,000 per year, according to this study. The reason is no secret of course, people with school age children want to live in areas that have excellent schools, and are prepared to pay a premium for it. These results have been found to be true over and over. The St Louis Fed found
In this paper, we propose an alternative formulation that allows for nonlinear effects of school quality. We show that this formulation is preferred by the data over a baseline linear boundary fixed effects model and that the rate at which the house price premium rises increases over the range of school quality. In other words, the standard linear specification for test scores overestimates the premium at low levels of school quality and underestimates the premium at high levels of school quality.
In the St. Louis metropolitan area, houses associated with a school ranked at 1 SD below the mean are essentially priced on physical characteristics only. In contrast, houses associated with higher-quality schools command a much higher price premium.
Interestingly, and in contrast to many studies in the literature, the price premium remains substantially large, especially for houses associated with above-average schools. This is true even in our most conservative estimates, which complement the boundary discontinuity approach by explicitly controlling for neighborhood demographics. These estimates also reveal that the racial composition of neighborhoods is capitalized directly into house prices.
This then makes the move to downgrade Ohio's schools based on some new, arbitrary standard all the more baffling. Not only will this move potentially produce lower school ratings, it may also destroy tens of millions of dollars worth of housing value at a time when house prices are already under extreme stress and the economy struggling to improve.
Consider this then, when they vote one levies. A few hundred bucks could add thousands of dollars to the value of you home. One can only imagine the added wealth that could be created if the state lived up to its constitutional responsibilities and invested properly in public education too.