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.

The bait and switch of school "reform"

In recent weeks the debate over the future of public education in America has flared up again, this time with the publication of the new book "Class Warfare," by Steven Brill, the founder of American Lawyer magazine. Brill's advocacy of "reform" has sparked different strands of criticism from the New York Times, New York University's Diane Ravitch and the Nation's Dana Goldstein.

But behind the high-profile back and forth over specific policies and prescriptions lies a story that has less to do with ideas than with money, less to do with facts than with an ideological subtext that has been quietly baked into the very terms of the national education discussion.

Like most education reporters today, Brill frames the issue in simplistic, binary terms. On one side are self-interested teachers unions who supposedly oppose fundamental changes to schools, not because they care about students, but because they fear for their own job security and wages, irrespective of kids. In this mythology, they are pitted against an alliance of extraordinarily wealthy corporate elites who, unlike the allegedly greedy unions, are said to act solely out of the goodness of their hearts. We are told that this "reform" alliance of everyone from Rupert Murdoch to the Walton family to leading hedge funders spends huge amounts of money pushing for radical changes to public schools because they suddenly decided that they care about destitute children, and now want to see all kids get a great education.

The dominant narrative, in other words, explains the fight for the future of education as a battle between the evil forces of myopic selfishness (teachers) and the altruistic benevolence of noblesse oblige (Wall Street). Such subjective framing has resulted in reporters, pundits and politicians typically casting the "reformers'" arguments as free of self-interest, and therefore more objective and credible than teachers' counterarguments.

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Why won’t Ms. Rhee talk to USA Today?

Michele Rhee has suddenly gone tight lipped

It’s hard to find a media outlet, big or small, that she hasn’t talked to. She’s been interviewed by Katie Couric, Tom Brokaw and Oprah Winfrey. She’s been featured on a Time magazine cover holding a broom (to sweep away bad teachers). She was one of the stars of the documentary “Waiting for Superman.” ... And yet, as voracious as she is for the media spotlight, Ms. Rhee will not talk to USA Today.
On May 2, another Rhee spokeswoman e-mailed to say the reporters were too interested in cheating and not enough in StudentsFirst. She said they could submit a list of questions.

There were 21 questions; Ms. Rhee did not answer 10 of the 11 about cheating.

Mr. Gillum, who recently took a job at The Associated Press, said he was surprised by how unresponsive Ms. Rhee has been. “She talks about how important data is, and our story is data driven,” he said.

The whole article sheds an enormous amount of light on the shady way Michele Rhee and her "StudentsFirst" organization operates.

News for March 11th, 2011

As we woke to a light snow covering today, we also learn via the NBC4i that more snow days are coming, no not that kind, this kind

The Ohio House has voted 92-5 to give schools two more "snow days," beyond the three they're currently allowed.

A relentless winter has meant many schools long ago exhausted their current annual allotment of three calamity days, meaning they must make up any further time lost due to weather.

We also learned that in order to close a large budget gap, 32 teachers will be cut by Gahanna-Jefferson schools

Thursday night, the Gahanna-Jefferson Schools Board of Education approved more than $7 million in cuts. These cuts impact dozens of teachers and thousands of students.

The cuts come after failed levy campaigns last May and November.

You can read the full list of cuts here.

School Tranportation News reminds everyone that SB5 affects more than just teachers, police and fire, but other education support staff, including many bus drivers

Senate Bill 5 as currently written would repeal collective bargaining for state and public employees. According to Pete Japikse, director of pupil transportation at the Ohio Department of Education, only about 5 percent of the state’s school buses are owned by contractors. But things get more complicated when trying to determine the breakdown between school bus drivers employed by private companies and those who work for local school districts.

“Just like teachers, there is a fairly significant percentage of school bus drivers represented by organized labor,” Japikse said. “In fact, teachers and drivers belong to some of the same unions. Whatever the impact is on teachers will probably be some of the same impact on drivers.”

In other SB 5 related news, the Dispatch is reporting that the House Speaker does not know when a vote might occur, but hearings are planned for all next weeks

Speaker William G. Batchelder said he is done predicting when the collective-bargaining bill will come up for a full vote in the House.

The Medina Republican told reporters yesterday that Senate Bill 5 will not come up for a floor vote next week. This came a day after he told reporters that he hoped to have a House vote next week on the controversial measure.
The House Commerce and Labor Committee will continue hearings next week on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Tuesday, Gov. John Kasich will introduce his two-year operating budget.

For more news throughout the day you can follow us on Twitter @jointhefutureOH