Ohio Value-added measures poverty

Congratulations Ohio corporate education reformers, you have discovered yet another way to measure poverty. Unfortunately you seem to believe this is also a good way to evaluate teachers.

Value-added was supposed to be the great equalizer -- a measure of schools that would finally judge fairly how much poor students are learning compared with their wealthier peers.

Meant to gauge whether students learn as much as expected in a given year, value-added will become a key part of rating individual teachers from rich and poor districts alike next school year.

But a Plain Dealer/StateImpact Ohio analysis raises questions about how much of an equalizer it truly is, even as the state ramps up its use.

The 2011-12 value-added results show that districts, schools and teachers with large numbers of poor students tend to have lower value-added results than those that serve more-affluent ones.

Of course there are going to be defenders of the high stakes sweepstakes

"Value-added is not influenced by socioeconomic status," said Matt Cohen, the chief research officer at the Ohio Department of Education. "That much is pretty clear."

That is the same Matt Cohen who admitted he is no expert and has no clue how Value-add is calculated

The department’s top research official, Matt Cohen, acknowledged that he can’t explain the details of exactly how Ohio’s value-added model works. He said that’s not a problem.

“It’s not important for me to be able to be the expert,” he said. “I rely on the expertise of people who have been involved in the field.” 

Perhaps if Mr Cohen became more familiar with the science and the data he would realize that:

  • Value-added scores were 2½ times higher on average for districts where the median family income is above $35,000 than for districts with income below that amount.
  • For low-poverty school districts, two-thirds had positive value-added scores -- scores indicating students made more than a year's worth of progress.
  • For high-poverty school districts, two-thirds had negative value-added scores -- scores indicating that students made less than a year's progress.

  • Almost 40 percent of low-poverty schools scored "Above" the state's value-added target, compared with 20 percent of high-poverty schools.
  • At the same time, 25 percent of high-poverty schools scored "Below" state value-added targets while low-poverty schools were half as likely to score "Below."

  • Students in high-poverty schools are more likely to have teachers rated "Least Effective" -- the lowest state rating -- than "Most Effective" -- the highest of five ratings. The three ratings in the middle are treated by the state as essentially average performance.

Is there really any doubt what is truly being measured here? Ohio's secret Value-added formula is good at measuring poverty, not teacher effectiveness.

We predict districts and administrators and those connected to the development of Value-added measures are going to be deluged with lawsuits once high stakes decisions are attached to the misguided application of these diagnostic scores.

Union member election results

We spolighted all the union members who were running for election to the Ohio General Assembly.

Day 1: Union members running for the Ohio House
Day 2: Union members running for the Ohio House
Day 3: Union members running for the Ohio House
Day 4: Union members running for the Ohio House
Day 5: Union members running for the Ohio House
Union members spotlight - State Senate

How did they do*? 7 lost, 2 very narrowly, but 19 will advance to the general election, including 11 teachers. While Eric Spicer lost, so too did his opponent, the SB5 voting incumbent Rep. Jarrod Martin.

HD 7 Matt Patten (D) LABORERS Winner  
HD 16 Todd Laveck (D) OFT Narrow loss Andrew Meyer
HD 20 Marco Miller (D) IAFF (Ret.) Loss Heather Bishoff
HD 21 Donna O’Connor (D) OEA Winner  
HD 24 Maureen Reedy (D) OEA Winner  
HD 37 Tom Schmida (D) OFT Winner  
HD 45 Teresa Fedor (D) OFT Winner  
HD 47 Jeff Bunck (D) OEA Winner  
HD 57 Matt Lark (D) OEA Winner  
HD 58 Bobby Hagan (D) BLET Winner  
HD 61 Susan McGuinness (D) ONA Winner  
HD 68 Brad Schaff (D) USW Narrow loss John Ryerson
HD 69 Judith Cross (D) OEA (Ret.) Winner  
HD 71 Brady Jones (D) UAW Winner  
HD 72 David Dilly (D) UMWA Winner  
HD 73 Eric Spicer (R) FOP Loss Rick Perales
HD 76 Mary O’Toole (R) OEA Loss Matt Lynch
HD 81 John Vanover (D) USW Winner  
HD 87 Dennis Sterling (R) FOP Loss Jeff Mclain
HD 88 Bill Young (D) OEA Winner  
HD 95 Charles Daniels (D) OCSEA Winner  
HD 95 Jim Drake (D) OEA Loss Charles Daniels
HD 99 John Patterson (D) OEA Winner  
SD 6 Rick McKiddy (D) UAW (Ret.) Winner  
SD 20 Teresa Scarmack (D) OEA Winner  
SD 24 Tom Patton (R) IATSE Winner  
SD 26 Tanyce Addison (D) OEA Winner  

*As reported by the Ohio Secretary of State at 9am 3/7/2012.

Union members spotlight - day 2

This is day two of our spotlight on union members who have decided to run for the Ohio general assembly. Candidates spotlighted on day one, can be found here.

It should be noted that the districts listed below are new as a consequence of the legislative redistricting process that happened last year.

House district 37 - Tom Schmida (D)
House district 37 - Tom Schmida
Tom is a member of OFT and has been President of Cleveland Heights Teachers Union for 20 years. Tom started his teaching career at Wiley Junior High School in 1972. He taught social studies there until 2005, when he became a social studies teacher at Cleveland Heights High School. He will be facing an incumbent Rep of former district 42, Kristina Roegner in November. Rep. Roegner voted against the middle class when she cast he vote for SB5 and HB153.

House district 45 - Teresa Fedor (D)
House district 45 - Teresa Fedor
Rep. Teresa Fedor currently represents district 47. A member of OFT, she attended the University of Toledo, received a Bachelor of Science in Education and spent 18 years as a classroom teacher. She has no opponent in the primary of the general election. You can read more about Rep. Fedor, here.

House district 47 - Jeff Bunck (D)
House district 47 - Jeff Bunck
Jeff is a member of OEA. Jeff is a retired high school government teacher and said the Republican attempt to thwart collective bargaining sparked his decision to run for a seat in the Ohio House against a GOP incumbent in suburban Toledo. The debate will still be fresh in the minds of voters next year, he said.

"It will level the playing field a whole lot even in gerrymandered districts like the one I'm running in," said Bunck, who's 59 and never run for office before.

With no opponent in the primary will be facing incumbent Rep. Barbara Sears who was a vote in favor of SB5 and HB153.

House district 57 - Matt Lark (D)
House district 57 - Matt Lark
Matt Lark is now running unopposed in the primary and will face incumbent Rep. Terry Boose who voted for SB5 and HB153, and against the middle class. Matt is a member of OEA, and has spent the last twenty years working as a high school science teacher in Ohio. The first six years of his career were with the Toledo Public School system while the last fourteen years he has worked at Norwalk High School. Matt is currently the President of the Norwalk Teachers Association. You can learn more about Matt LArk, here.

House district 58 - Bobby Hagan (D)
House district 58 - Bobby Hagan
Rep. Hagan was first elected to District 60 in 2006, but is running for re-election in District 58 in 2012. He is a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. He is unopposed in the primary and general election, as incumbent Terry Boose has decided to run for reelection in district 57.

Tomorrow we will highlight 5 more union members who are running for the Ohio general assembly.

We're not saying it is hypocritical, but

We're not saying it is hypocritical, but when you pass legislation saying that teachers are to be evaluated on their ability to do the job, then you turn around and hire your own partisan political appointees for a job they have no experience to do, it does make one wonder.

After a months-long search for someone with regulatory experience to ride herd on Ohio’s four casinos, a state panel yesterday chose someone with none.

Matt Schuler, chief of staff for the Republican president of the Ohio Senate, was appointed executive director of the Casino Control Commission. Commission members recruited the 44-year-old Gahanna resident after having trouble enticing regulators from other states to take a similar job in Ohio.

Maybe Mr. Schuler ought to at least take a test?

Matt Schuler was recently at the center of the controvesy over Senate staff getting massive retroactive pay rises.

Every member of senior staff in our caucus was approached about leaving, and we almost lost several other key staff members, Niehaus said. "It became obvious when I heard what some of the offers were that they were in part leaving because of money, so I asked our chief of staff, Matt Schuler, to do a review of salaries."

We guess after his salary review Matt Schuler decided he needed a wee bit more, but even that doesn't appear to be enough as he's now headed for the door to collect what is expected to be a windfall salary of $146,286. He may want to talk to his wife, school board member Jill Schuler. Mrs. Schuler has been a very vocal proponent of "sared sacrifice"

Board member Jill Schuler said she struggles with placing the tax request on the ballot unless all employees make a commitment. She cited no flexibility with personnel costs that make up 80 percent of the district's budget.

"The sacrifices some are making need to be made by the whole," Schuler said.

Like we said, We're not saying it is hypocritical, but...

Don't mess with Matt Damon

This speech at the Washington DC SOS rally by actor, and academy award winning writer, Matt Damon received a lot of positive reviews from a broad spectrum of observers.

After the speech, Damon was confronted by some right wing media. "Don't mess with Matt Damon" was the message that CNN reported.

He does a great job eviscerating the arguments of some of the least informed corporate education reformers.