Education News for 01-10-2013

State Education News

  • Teacher education programs at public, private state colleges can now be compared (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • Prospective teachers, school superintendents and parents can now judge the quality of teacher education programs in Ohio's public and private colleges…Read more...

  • Secrecy to shroud school seclusion, restraint use under new state rules (Columbus Dispatch)
  • New state rules would require schools to keep records of how often and why educators place children in seclusion rooms or physically restrain them…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Casino money headed this way (Marion Star)
  • School districts are getting their first taste of casino-tax revenues, though this new revenue stream won’t be a windfall…Read more...

  • Newcomerstown schools' recycling drive helps beat budget crunch (New Philadelphia Times-)
  • Staff and teachers of Newcomerstown Exempted Village Schools have been earning free technology equipment by participating in the FundingFactory Recycling Program…Read more...

  • Scioto schools get $277,500 from Casino Tax (Portsmouth Daily Times)
  • The state of Ohio announced Wednesday nearly $38 million will go to Ohio schools…Read more...

Support kids not cuts

Across the board cuts (also know as sequestration), scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 2, 2013, are a bad idea and would be devastating to the programs and services ordinary Americans depend on including education, transportation, public safety, medical research, and environmental protection. These cuts could also lead to the loss of nearly 80,000 education jobs.

Here's a broad look at what these cuts mean at the national level

Across the board cuts would be particularly devastating for education, where cuts would result in:
• Services cut or eliminated for more than nine million students
• Funding for children living in poverty, in special education, and Head Start slashed by billions
• Class sizes ballooning
• After-school programs eliminated
• Programs for our most vulnerable – homeless students, English Language Learners, and high-poverty, struggling schools – decimated
• Financial aid for college students slashed
• Nearly 80,000 education jobs lost – at early childhood, elementary and secondary, and postsecondary levels.

Despite the fact that 5.4 million more students are in our schools today and that costs have increased by 25 percent since 2003, these cuts could actually cause education programs to drop to pre-2003 levels.

And in Ohio

Ohio Sequestration

Ryan budget wrecks public education

Education issues have arrived front and center in the Presidential campaign. President Obama discussed education during his weekly address

With students starting to head back to school, President Obama used this week’s address to discuss the critical role that education plays in America’s future. Nothing is more important to a child’s education than a great teacher.

Unfortunately, tens of thousands of teachers will not be going back to school this year, partially because of budget cuts at the state and local level. That means more crowded classrooms, fewer kindergarten and preschool programs, and shorter school years and weeks. President Obama has proposed a jobs bill that would help states prevent further layoffs and rehire teachers, but Congress refuses to pass it.

Instead, the budget that almost every Republican voted for would further cut education in order to give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires.

The debate continued in Ohio

President Barack Obama drew a sharp line with Republican Mitt Romney on education Tuesday, telling Ohio voters that "putting a college education within reach for working families doesn't seem to be a priority" for his opponent.

Obama quoted his Republican challenger's assertion that the best option for students trying to find an affordable education is to "shop around."

"That's his answer for a young person hoping to go to college — shop around, borrow money from your parents if you have to — but if they don't have it, you're on your own," Obama said in prepared remarks ahead of a planned campaign stop Tuesday afternoon.

The president was expected to point to the budget plan put forward by Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, as he tries to paint the GOP ticket as too extreme for the nation.

He plans to criticize Ryan's budget proposal for cutting $115 billion from the Education Department, removing 2 million children from Head Start programs and costing 1 million college students their Pell Grants over the next decade.

According to the Washington Post, a recent poll on the Ryan budget found that a leading concern about the Ryan budget were cuts to education, and that those cuts raised serious doubts about Romney when voters were told that he supports the Ryan agenda.

Those cuts, as the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities discovered, are needed to fund massive tax cuts for the wealthiest

Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney plan to further defund education in order to provide tax cuts to people who have the least need. The choices for public education supporters have never been more stark.

Romney education claims: are exaggerations, inaccuracies a pattern?

Much as Mitt Romney’s claims about the number of jobs he created and outsourced while president and CEO of Bain Capital continue to generate skepticism, his central assertions about his education record while governor of Massachusetts raise the question about whether his at-times selective and less-than accurate credit-taking reflect a pattern.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning rated as “Half True” this statement from Romney made this month: “When I was governor, not only did test scores improve – we also narrowed the achievement gap.”

According to the fact-checking service, “State education figures over two years support Romney’s claim about learning gains, although it’s worth noting that some areas declined on his watch, such as the drop-out rate. And it’s always somewhat dubious to take a snapshot of statistics from only one or two years . . .”

It goes on, “What’s more, Romney, a single-term governor, should not get all the credit for improvement in the achievement gap, which is influenced by myriad factors. His statement is partially accurate but omits a lot of important information and overstates his impact.”

Massachusetts education leaders called on by PolitiFact were less generous in their assessment of Romney’s contribution to closing the state’s achievement gap.

“The most important point to make with Gov. Romney’s record is that the reform he initiated was part of a much larger and longer movement that existed in Massachusetts,” said Chad d’Entremont, executive director of the Rennie Center, an independent, nonpartisan education research organization.

Glenn Koocher, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, offered this pointed appraisal:

He had nothing to do with it. It’s the teachers in the classrooms who are making the difference.

What, then, are some verifiable education-related actions taken by Romney as governor?

Among them:

  • Romney proposed eliminating early literacy programs, full-day kindergarten, and class size reduction programs. [Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, March 5, 2003]
  • Romney vetoed a universal pre-kindergarten bill and “questioned the benefits of early education.” [Massachusetts Telegram and Gazette, February 2, 2007]
  • College fees soared 63% under Romney because of his cuts to higher education budget as governor. [Boston Globe, June 29, 2007]

To be sure, Romney’s education record is not all thorns and thistles. A closer look, however, reveals some worrisome facts that he won’t likely highlight in a campaign ad or speech.


Republicans oppose critical thinking

The 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform opposes the teaching of critical thinking skills. We had to read that twice too.

Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

They appear to oppose critical thinking being taught so that it doesn't undermine propaganda being instilled in them, to wit...

Early Childhood Development – We believe that parents are best suited to train their children in their early development and oppose mandatory pre-school and Kindergarten. We urge Congress to repeal government sponsored programs that deal with early childhood development.

Early childhood education is crucial to the future success of students, to ppose pre-school and kindergarten is extreme to say the least.

Is Texas an anomoly, or leading the way in rightward education thinking?

you decide, their platform document is below, with the education pieces starting on page 11

2012Platform Final

SB316 analysis Part II

We published our first look at SB316, the mid biennium review education bill, here. OEA has just published their analysis of the bill, which you can read in full, here (pdf).

We'd like to pull out a few sections that go into greater detail than our original analysis, specifically on teacher evaluations and school choice.

Teacher evaluations

  • Extends the annual deadline for completing teacher evaluations from April 1 to May 1.
  • Specifies that the statutory requirements regarding teacher evaluation in Ohio Revised Code Section 3319.111 prevail over conflicting provisions of collective bargaining agreements entered into on or after the bill’s effective date rather than on or after September 29, 2011. (OEA supports the date change that fixed the back dating issue, but continues to oppose this language and its placement because it restricts educators’ voices in teacher evaluation.)
  • Specifies that a teacher be evaluated under the teacher evaluation framework, only if the teacher spends at least 50 percent of their time employed providing student instruction.
  • Allows for third-party evaluators, such as Educational Service Centers, to be contracted by the board to perform evaluations (requires that an evaluator must hold a credential from the Ohio Department of Education). Does not require individuals hired by third parties to conduct evaluations to possess a superintendent, assistant superintendent, principal, vocational director, administrative specialist or supervisor license.
  • Restores current law allowing teacher evaluations to be conducted by persons designated in a peer review agreement entered into by an employer and its teachers.
  • Allows a teacher who is rated “accomplished” to complete a project instead of the second observation of an evaluation.
  • Requires only one annual evaluation instead of two for teachers on limited or extended contracts.
  • Requires at least three formal observations instead of two observations for teachers who are under consideration for nonrenewal.
  • Excludes students who have 60 or more unexcused absences for the school year in the calculation of student academic growth data for an evaluation.
  • Requires the State Board of Education to develop by June 30, 2013 a standards-based teacher evaluation framework for state agencies that employ teachers. Further, requires these state agencies to adopt the framework. (Note: Teachers employed by County Boards of Developmental Disabilities will fall under the ODE teacher evaluation framework.)
  • Requires the district to annually report the number of teachers receiving each evaluation rating aggregated by the teacher preparation programs for which the teachers graduated and graduation year to ODE. Also requires ODE to establish guidelines for the report and explicitly prohibits using teachers’ names or other personally identifiable information.
  • Requires the State Board of Education to adopt a resolution when they update the teacher evaluation framework.

School "Choice"

  • Removes provision creating regional gifted charter schools.
  • Removes changes to community school sponsor rankings (will likely be addressed in HB 555).
  • Specifies that unless the General Assembly enacts performance standards, a report card rating system, and closure criteria for community schools that operate dropout prevention and recovery programs by March 31, 2013, those schools are subject to permanent closure under the existing criteria that applies to other community schools. Stipulates that only the performance ratings issued to schools that operate dropout programs for the 2012-2013 school year and later count in determining if a school meets the closure criteria.
  • Allows for single-gender community schools without a comparable school for the other gender.
  • Requires ODE to post community school contracts on the Internet.
  • Revises the definition of a community school sponsor to explicitly include the local school district boards, educational services centers that agree to the conversion of a school building, and “grandfathered” sponsors.
  • Permits a person from serving on five instead of two governing authorities of start-up community schools at the same time.
  • Allows a community school to operate in a residential care facility, as long as the school was operating in Ohio prior to May 1, 2005, regardless of whether the school was operating from or in the facility on that date.
  • Retains current law on community school sponsorship and trigger for prohibiting an entity from sponsoring additional schools.
  • Requires that each time a school district completes an evaluation of a child with a disability or reviews a child’s IEP that the district send by letter or electronic means a notice to the child’s parent about voucher programs.
  • Requires the State Board of Education to adopt rules establishing procedures for awarding EdChoice vouchers to students already attending a nonpublic school when the school receives its charter.
  • Requires ODE to disaggregate data by grade not age for students participating in the EdChoice Voucher or Cleveland Voucher programs.