Education News for 05-25-2012

Statewide Education News

  • $700 million in federal education grants coming (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  • National education groups said this week that they’re putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to improving teacher effectiveness. Cincinnati Public Schools said Thursday it will join the growing cadre of districts applying for the $400 million latest round of federal Race to the Top school reform grants announced this week by the U. S. Department of Education. Read More...

  • Late changes stall education bill (Springfield News Sun)
  • State lawmakers aren’t finished revising Gov. John Kasich’s education reform bill and will continue to hash out their disagreements and attempt compromise after the holiday weekend. Senate Bill 316 was scheduled for a floor vote in the House on Thursday, but there was disagreement about changes that include:
    • Raising the minimum reading test score students need to pass third grade.
    • Scrapping the report card committee.
    • Creating a system of charter schools for gifted students. Read More...

  • Five Things You Can Learn Tomorrow About Ohio Teacher Evaluations (State Impact Ohio)
  • Ohio school districts are in the middle of making major changes to how public school teachers are evaluated. The changes come amid a national push to make teacher evaluation actually count. That means using it to help teachers improve and to tie performance to how teachers are paid and whether they keep their jobs. How important is this change to teachers and principals? So important that about 2,500 of them will descend upon Columbus tomorrow for a conference on what the new evaluations will look like and what they mean. Read More...

Local Issues

  • Ohio Graduation Test scores down, but still good (Mansfield News Journal)
  • Early reports indicate Ohio Graduation Tests scores at all Richland County public schools decreased this year. Lucas High School Principal Eric Teague said he wasn't surprised scores dropped a bit in his district. Last year, scores were phenomenal and students scored a 100 percent in reading, mathematics and writing, he said. Read More...

  • Inmates May Soon Work Inside Central Ohio School District (NBC-4, Columbus)
  • They've been sentenced to years in prison, but inmates may soon be working in and around schools in a Central Ohio district. Leaders with the Fairbanks Local Schools in Union County are currently working on a partnership with the Ohio Reformatory for Women. Read More...

  • Lane to be tried as adult in Chardon High shootings (News Herald)
  • T.J. Lane will be tried as an adult in the Chardon High School shootings, Geauga County Probate/Juvenile Judge Tim Grendell ruled Thursday. Lane is being held in the county Juvenile Detention Center without bond. Read More...

  • Special-needs students benefit from work-training program (Vindicator)
  • A year of hands-on vocational training has helped 10 special-needs students secure entry-level jobs. Corey and Brian Dyer, work-training coordinators for the Mahoning County Educational Services Center, brought the work-training program to Austintown Fitch High School and the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center. Read More...

  • Male teachers are rare in elementaries (Hamilton Journal News)
  • Men make up only 10 percent of the elementary school teachers in Butler County, a trend seen nationally and one that concerns education experts. The Hamilton JournalNews analyzed staff lists in 10 Butler County districts, and of the 1,603.8 full-time equivalent teachers in elementary schools, 164 — or 10.2 percent — are men, according to 2010-11 data from the Ohio Department of Education. Read More...

  • Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson's education plan does not get legislative approval, but deal is made to pass it soon (Plain Dealer)
  • Mayor Frank Jackson did not get final approval from state lawmakers on his education reform plan, but they struck a deal late Thursday that it would be passed soon. Jackson was adamant he wanted his sweeping plan to pass Thursday so he could move ahead with a school tax campaign. Raising property taxes would help offset the school district's projected budget deficit. Read More...

  • Cleveland mayor reaches agreement to fix troubled schools (Dispatch)
  • Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson reached an agreement tonight with state legislative leaders on a bill to overhaul his struggling school district. House Speaker William G. Batchelder, R-Medina, said there will be a news conference on Friday to announce the details, but said it is his intent to pass House Bill 525 when the legislature returns to Columbus in mid-June. Read More...

Making The Mandate Work For Both Teachers And Students

We were lucky enough to snag the latest edition of the the Ohio Education Association's (OEA) Ohio Schools magazine. It has a lot of great stuff in it, but one article we want to pull out and republish.

HB 153 And The Ohio Teacher Evaluation Framework - Making The Mandate Work For Both Teachers And Students*

Recent research, especially The new Teacher Project’s controversial The Widget Effect that criticizes many current teacher evaluation practices, has brought to national policy-makers’ attention a fact that educators have known for quite some time—most teacher evaluations are poorly designed, are irregularly and sometimes unfairly implemented, and provide little useful information about teacher performance for either teachers or their evaluators. This national wave of teacher evaluation reform includes federal initiatives like Race to the Top and state-level policy changes. Ohio is one of the many states that have addressed the issue through new legislation and one of 13 states that now require student performance as a significant factor in teacher evaluation.

House Bill 153 (hB 153), signed into law on June 30, 2011, significantly changes the way teachers in Ohio will be evaluated. hB 153 creates mandates at both the state and local level that will shape teacher evaluation policy development and teacher evaluation practices and procedures over the next several years. NeA and OeA have long advocated for teacher evaluation systems that are reliable, valid and focused on helping all teachers become more effective. It’s true that hB 153 presents many challenges; however, the legislation also requires that local teacher evaluation policy be developed in consultation with the district’s teachers, representing an opportunity for OeA members to make substantive and transformative changes in their districts. And if local associations commit to take the lead as the architects of this process in each district, they can build high-quality local teacher evaluation systems that work for teachers and students and strengthen the teaching profession.

The state board followed by adopting the framework below in November 2011. This framework must form the foundation for all locally developed evaluation systems as well as the Ohio Teacher evaluation System (OTeS) Model.

in the state framework, 50 percent of each teacher’s evaluation will be based on multiple student growth measures.

Teachers will be assigned a student growth rating (Below, expected, Above) based on the level at which they meet the student growth standard of one year’s growth in one year’s time.

If value-added data is available for a teacher, it must be used as one of the student growth measures. Additional assessments to determine student growth will be identified by the Ohio Department of education (ODe), and they will also provide guidelines for locally created measures of student growth. ODe will develop guidance for the specific categories of student growth measures that can be used by each district for teachers in both tested and untested grades and subjects. The approved assessment list and guidance will be available in June 2012, and information about using student growth measures will be addressed in an upcoming issue of Ohio Schools.

The other 50 percent of the evaluation will be calculated from multiple measures of teacher performance based on the seven Ohio Standards for the Teaching Profession.

Teachers will be assigned a rating (Accomplished, Proficient, Developing, Ineffective) based on the multiple measures included in the local evaluation system. Districts will need to determine how teachers provide evidence relative to each of these standards in their locally developed evaluation policies, processes and procedures. Observation is the one measure that is required by law; however, many aspects of teaching (collabora- tion, communication, professional growth) cannot be effectively evaluated through classroom observation, so districts will need to create tools that will allow teachers to provide evidence of their practice in these areas.

A final summative evaluation rating will be assigned to each teacher based on the following matrix that combines the ratings in Student growth Measures and Teacher Performance. (See graphic above.)

Evaluators and credentialing

Ohio Revised Code (Section 3319.111) requires that a person who evaluates a teacher must hold the following licenses or designation:

  • superintendent
  • assistant superintendent
  • Principal
  • Vocational director
  • supervisor
  • Person designated to conduct evaluations under an agreement providing for peer review (Par)

Under the new state framework, one of the most significant changes to how teacher evaluation is conducted in Ohio is that upon implementation of the revised teacher evaluation system, every district evaluator must be credentialed in addition to having the appropriate license or PAR designation. This means that having one of the licenses or PAR designation above is no longer the sole criterion to be an evaluator.

The credentialing process will be a three-day face-to-face training in which evaluators view a variety of teaching videos and learn to score accurately and with fidelity using the OTeS observation rubric. following the training, evaluators will then need to pass an online assessment that requires them to observe a teaching segment and rate the teacher within an acceptable range on the rubric to be fully credentialed. Districts are free to adopt or develop models and tools of their own (e.g. Danielson, Marzano and others), but all of the state training will be conducted using the OTeS observation rubric.

The Ohio Department of education (ODe) is in the process of selecting a company to develop the online assessment and will spend the spring of 2012 training state trainers who will provide the evaluator credential- ing training regionally beginning in June 2012. The training roll out will be similar to the training for Resident educator mentors. Training will be offered free of charge in the first year. Race to the Top districts that plan to implement revised evaluation systems prior to 2013 should take advantage of training this year. In subsequent years, there will likely be a cost for the training.

evaluators will need to be periodi- cally add terms for a person and reassessed, and once the initial train- ing has rolled out, ODe will begin work on developing those compo- nents. The credentialing process fills a great void in many districts where administrators who evaluate teachers have little or no training in how to observe and use observation evidence to rate teacher performance.

Student growth measures and evaluator selection

The state framework also contains provisions regarding a teacher’s selection of credentialed evaluators based on the Student Growth Measure rating earned by that teacher. Please note that this is not based on the Teacher Performance rating or overall summative rating, but the Student Growth Measure rating only.

  • teachers with above-expected levels of student growth will develop a professional growth plan and may choose their credentialed evaluator for the evaluation cycle.
  • teachers with expected levels of student growth will develop a profes- sional growth plan collaboratively with the credentialed evaluator and will have input on their credentialed evaluator for the evaluation cycle.
  • teachers with below-expected levels of student growth will develop an improvement plan with their credentialed evaluator. the administration will assign the credentialed evaluator for the evaluation cycle and approve the improvement plan.

Next steps Although the deadline for adopting a local policy is July 1, 2013, there is a great deal of work that needs to be underway, as soon as possible, for districts to be able to meet the requirements in both hB 153 and the state-adopted framework. The local association must prepare now to take the lead in bargaining and building the local evaluation system and ensuring it is implemented fairly and effectively. Race to the Top districts should have a local Scope of Work that outlines the processes and timelines for evaluation reform work through 2013-2014. districts that are not participating in Race to the Top will need to begin the work in order to have their policy in place and ready for implementation by the deadline.

Below are some general steps to consider as you look forward to bargaining revisions in your current teacher evaluation system.

  • identify and engage a district evaluation team, including teachers from various grade levels, content areas, specialty and non-classroom assignments
  • review and analyze current teacher evaluation policies, procedures and practices
  • conduct ode evaluation gaP analysis n review effective evaluation models including the otes (revised version will be available June 2012)
  • select/develop a district evaluation system and tools
  • Map and develop local student assessments that will provide student growth data
  • create local training on the new system for evaluators and teachers
  • construct a pilot timeline (one evaluation cycle)
  • send evaluators for credentialing training
  • have volunteer teachers and evaluators pilot the system
  • review and revise the system based on pilot data
  • implement the new evaluation system

The timeline for developing local evaluation policy and a highly effective teacher evaluation system to go along with it is short, and some Race to the Top districts may be on an accelerated schedule depending on the timeline in their local Scope of Work. It is imperative that local leaders take the initiative to move teacher evaluation work forward in their districts. The stakes are high, and OEA is committed to lead the way in advocating for public education, public educators and the learners we serve by promoting and supporting high-quality teacher evaluation systems that work for teachers and students.

*Remember any changes to the local teacher evalution system must be made through the collective bargaining process.

State requirements

hB 153 required the state board of education to develop a standards-based framework for teacher evaluation by december 31, 2011, that includes the following nine elements (orc 3319.112):
1. Provides for multiple evaluation factors, including student academic growth that counts for 50 percent of each evaluation
2. is aligned with the ohio standards for the teaching Profession
3. requires at least two formal observations of the teacher by the evaluator of at least 30 min- utes in addition to classroom walkthroughs*
4. assigns a rating on each evaluation of accomplished, Proficient, developing or ineffective
5. requires each teacher to be provided with a written report of the results of the teacher's evaluation
6. identifies measures of student academic growth for grade levels and subjects for which value-added data is not available
7. implements a classroom-level, value-added program developed by a nonprofit organization
8. Provides for professional development to accelerate and continue teacher growth and provide support to poorly performing teachers
9. Provides for the allocation of financial resources to support professional development
*the ohio department of education is defining “classroom walkthrough” as an informal observation less than 30 minutes in length. this is not the classroom walkthrough system utilized by many districts for gathering formative assessment information at the building level to guide professional development.

Local district requirements

hB 153 requires all public school districts to revise their teacher evaluation systems to align to the state framework described above. The local association must become the lead architect in bargaining and updating or rebuilding the local system. Some districts may have teacher evaluation systems in place that need minimal changes in order to align with new requirements, and some districts may choose to adopt the Ohio Teacher evaluation System model. Regardless, all districts will have to include student growth measures as 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation in addition to meeting all of the requirements below (ORC 3319.111):
1. Local boards of education have until July 1, 2013, to adopt a standards- based teacher evaluation policy that conforms to the framework above.
2. the policy shall become operative at the expiration of any collective bargaining agreement covering teachers employed by the board that is in effect as of september 29, 2011 (the effective date of the legislation) and must be included in any renewal or extension of such an agreement.
3. Measures of student academic growth must include value-added data if it is available. for teachers in untested grades and subjects, the board will administer assessments on the list developed by ode or local student growth measures that follow the state guidelines (not yet available).
4. the board is required to evaluate every teacher at least once each year to be completed by the first day of april. the teacher must receive a written report of the results of the evaluation by the 10th day of april.
5. if the board has entered into a limited contract or extended limited contract with a teacher, the board must evaluate the teacher at least twice in any school year in which the board may wish to declare its intention not to re-employ the teacher. one evaluation must be completed by January 15, and the teacher must receive a written report of the results by January 25. the second evaluation must be completed between february 10 and april 1 and the teacher must receive a written report of the results by april 10.
6. the board may adopt a resolution to evaluate each teacher who received a rating of accomplished once every two school years.
In addition to all of the requirements above, hB 153 mandates that the local teacher evaluation policy include procedures for using the evaluation results for retention and promotion decisions and for removal of poorly-performing teachers and does not allow seniority to be the basis for teacher retention decisions, except when deciding between teachers who have comparable evaluations.
finally, hB 153 requires the local board of education to provide for the allocation of financial resources to support professional development that both accelerates teacher growth and provides support for teachers who have been identified as underperforming.

Harder to deal than to teach

After we published this story about the hypocrisy of Senate Chief Of Staff Matt Schuler getting an appoinment as the executive director of the Casino Control Commission, we got an email from a reader that we found so hard to believe we had to do some checking.

Our reader pointed out that it requires more training to become a prospective Ohio casino dealer than a Teacher for America teacher.

Right from the Teach for American website

All corps members must attend a five-week training institute in full before they begin teaching. Corps members must attend the institute to which their region is assigned.

A lot of teachers are rightly insulted that a 200 hour training course can now be substitued for years of higher education, professional development and training. It turns out casino's think you need more than 5 weeks just to deal Blackjack and Poker!

The Dispatch

The school hired seasoned dealers to teach blackjack, poker and craps. And it set up a school at the casino to teach the trainees, supported by funding from the state.

"We trained over 400 people to start up the operation, and now we're down to training about 40 people every six weeks," Hubbard said.

6 weeks! We thought we would check that claim out. The Blue Ridge Community and Technical College is a state-supported institution within the West Virginia Community and Technical College system and provides accredited training for prospective casino employees. Here's their curriculum

Introduction to Casino Games: This course covers the general responsibilities of the dealer and is a pre-requisite for other table games training courses. Emphasis is placed on correct chip handling techniques, identifying the value of each color chip, learning to read the total value of a bet, and pit procedures. 40 hours (4 hours per day, 5 days per week, 2 weeks) Cost: $200.00

Blackjack: This course covers the fundamentals of dealing Blackjack. Emphasis is placed on card totaling, chip handling and cutting, card shuffling and card placement. Attention is given to game and accounting procedures, accuracy, and speed. 80 hours (4 hours per day, 5 days per week, 4 weeks) Cost: $400.00

Roulette: This course covers the fundamentals of dealing Roulette. Emphasis is placed on chip handling, table layout, accurate and quick mental multiplication, and accuracy in clearing the table. 80 hours (4 hours per day, 5 days per week, 4 weeks) Cost: $400.00

Poker: This course covers the fundamentals of dealing Poker. Instruction is provided in the fundamentals of rake/antes/blind bets, game rules and regulations, dealer’s responsibilities and game security. 80 hours (4 hours per day, 5 days per week, 4 weeks) Cost: $400.00

Craps: This course covers the fundamentals of dealing craps. Emphasis is placed on the knowledge of the procedures on a variety of bets, accurate and quick mental multiplication and chip handling. Special attention is given to game procedures, accounting procedures, accuracy and speed. 160 hours (4 hours per day, 5 days per week, 8 weeks) Cost: $700.00

Midi Baccarat: This course is designed to train students in all aspects of dealing Midi Baccarat. Students will learn about the equipment used, the rules and object of the game, check handling and odds. Extensive hands on training is used to assist students in mastering all aspects of this exciting game. 80 hours (4 hours per day, 5 days per week, 4 weeks) Cost: $400.00

To take all these casino card game training courses would consume 13 weeks, 6 times longer than TFA thinks it takes to train a classroom ready teacher. If the course were offered for 8 hours a day it would still take 6.5 weeks to complete, and week and a half longer than the TFA training

There's something deeply wrong when we think it takes longer to traing card dealers than teachers.

Teach For America: From Service Group to Industry

One of the best articles written on Teach for America

Although Teach For America began twenty years ago as a well-intentioned band-aid, it has morphed into what is essentially a jobs program for the privileged, funded by taxpayers and wealthy individuals. TFA was originally designed it to serve a specific need: fill positions in high-poverty schools where there are teacher shortages.

A non-profit organization that recruits college seniors primarily from elite institutions to teach for two-year stints in high-poverty schools, preceded by five weeks of training. TFA has grown from 500 teachers to more than 8,000 teachers in thirty-nine rural and urban areas.

As TFA is expanding, it is no longer just filling positions in shortage areas; rather, it’s replacing experienced and traditionally educated teachers. To justify this encroachment, TFA claims that their teachers are more effective than more experienced and qualified teachers, and that training and experience are not factors in effective teaching. TFA supporters also defend the explosive growth of TFA as an indication that TFA is elevating the status of the teaching profession for ambitious high-achieving college students.

Unfortunately, while Teach for America has been very effective at elevating the status of Teach for America, it has not had a similar impact on the status of teaching as a profession.

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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.

Petition training pics and update

A packed house at JTF world HQ last night for petition training. Folks were excited and ready to go!

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Thanks to the OEA staff for taking the time to deliver the training.

We also learned that We Are Ohio have begun printing 100,000 petitions which should start being available Friday. Stay tuned.