Rethinking Teacher Evaluation in Chicago

The Consortium On Chicago School Research At The University Of Chicago Urban Education Institute just released an interesting report on the Chicago teacher evaluations rubric. We bring this to our readers attention because their process includes elements such as observations, that will surely be included in the forthcoming Ohio evaluation rubric. The conclusion begins

Our study of the Excellence in Teaching Pilot in Chicago reveals some positive outcomes: the observation tool was demonstrated to be reliable and valid. Principals and teachers reported they had more meaningful conversations about instruction. The majority of principals in the pilot were engaged and positive about their participation. At the same time, our study identifies areas of concern: principals were more likely to use the Distinguished rating.

Our interviews with principals confirm that principals intentionally boost their ratings to the highest category to preserve relationships. And, while principals and teachers reported having better conversations than they had in the past, there are indications that both principals and teachers still have much to learn about how to translate a rating on an instructional rubric into deep conversation that drives improvement in the classroom. Future work in teacher evaluation must attend to these critical areas of success, as well as these areas of concern, in order to build effective teacher evaluation systems.

Though practitioners and policymakers rightly spend a good deal of time comparing the effectiveness of one rubric over another, a fair and meaningful evaluation hinges on far more than the merits of a particular tool. An observation rubric is simply a tool, one which can be used effectively or ineffectively. Reliability and validity are functions of the users of the tool, as well as of the tool itself. The quality of implementation depends on principal and observer buy-in and capacity, as well as the depth and quality of training and support they receive.

We would add that this kind of tool could be very dangerous absent due process collective bargaining protections.

Rethinking Teacher Evaluation in Chicago

Ohio can't wait to start misusing value add

The Columbus Dispatch ran an article "Ratings start to ID effective teachers", which discusses the recent use of teacher level value add scores, primarily as part of RttT, but which also will feature heavily in teacher evaluations going forward.

The article covers a lot of common ground, but not until the 17th of 27 paragraphs does it even mention how inappropriate value add is for this use

Officials involved in producing the new effectiveness ratings say they should not be used to label a teacher as good or bad. This year’s rating is a statement of a teacher’s effectiveness with his or her students from last school year, and nothing more, said Mary Peters, senior director of research and innovation at Battelle for Kids. The Columbus-based nonprofit organization is helping the Education Department develop the effectiveness system.

“We need to be careful about making judgments about one year of data,” Peters said. “These measures were intended for diagnostic purposes, to provide information to help teachers reflect on their practice and determine with whom they are being successful.”

Despite these constant warnings by academics and researchers alike, policy makers, and some government bureaucrats continue to see teacher level value add as a primary tool for teacher evaluation, and it looks for all the world that Ohio can't wait any longer to begin misusing this tool

The Buckeye Institutes doesn't understand simple things

The Buckeye Institute just released a tool to compare salaries. The only trouble with this hackish tool is they don't understand how anyone is paid apparently.

In their effort to make public sector workers appear over compensated, they add vacation and sick pay to salaries, without understanding sick and vacation pay is paid instead of salary, and therefore can't be added to create a juicy big total salary they can get all indignant about.

What kind of a "think tank" doesn't understand the basic principles of employee compensation?

Teachers again prove SB5 is a sham budget tool

Collective bargaining continues to work in Ohio, and teachers and support professionals continue to make deep sacrifices for their communities to alleviate busted budgets and tough economic times. Today brings news of 2 such efforts, and further highlights the fact that SB5 is not a budget correcting tool, but a politically motivated attack on working people.

Columbus City Schools

The Columbus teachers union has agreed to a new two-year contract that apparently will delay the impact of Ohio's recently passed collective bargaining bill.

Under the pact, which the Columbus Board of Education approved tonight, teachers would receive no base salary increase for the next two years. And instead of receiving full "step" increases in salary based on their years of experience and training, eligible teachers will receive half the salary bump in a single year.

Chardon Schools

new union contracts are expected to save the district an estimated $1.1 million over the coming two school years.
The new two-year contract includes a freeze on base pay, which, at the time the contract runs out, will have been the fourth consecutive year of base pay freezes for the unions.

If you want to help repeal SB5 and preserve collective bargaining and the middle class, sign up here, at We Are Ohio.

The "Jobs Budget" Calculator

OEA has been busy crunching the numbers and has created a cool online calculator tool you can use to see what the economic impact and job losses will be in your schoold district, your county, and even your house and senate districts (those officials might be interested in that, you would think).

Check it out.

For example, Franklin county stands to lose over 1,000 jobs because of this "jobs budget".

OEA has also compiled data on potential job losses and economic impact considering reductions in State funding that will take effect in the next fiscal year. Given the fact that districts cannot operate in a deficit for an extended period of time, cuts in staff are likely. Potential staff cuts are figured by looking at the average cost of salaries and benefits in each district.

Every dollar lost in school funding translates in to more than a dollar lost in the local economy. For example, a school employee losing a job also means a local restaurant or business also loses money because they lose a customer. This tool also allows see the compounded impact from those losses on the local economy. This tool enables you to look at potential job cuts and dollars lost in the local economy by the district, county, senate, and house district levels by using drop down menus.

Kasich Budget Proposal - Economic Impact

job loss calculator