Education News for 09-05-2012

State Education News

  • Temple creates enrichment program for home-school families (Lima News)
  • A new program at Temple Christian School will offer opportunities for home-schooled children that aren’t as easy to come by at home…Read more...

  • Hunger in the classroom a growing trend (WKYC)
  • A new study that included Ohio found that teachers are reporting many of their students are hungry…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Carroll works on energy savings (Dayton Daily News)
  • A recent energy conservation project is putting Carroll High School in the spotlight. The Catholic school is the first in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati…Read more...

  • Mansfield City Schools celebrate 'turnaround' (Mansfield News Journal)
  • The Mansfield City Schools Board of Education offered reflection and exhilaration…Read more...

  • Perrysburg Public Service Director Jon Eckel retires, rehired under new policy (Toledo Blade)
  • The public hearing on Perrysburg Public Service Director Jon Eckel's retirement was quick Tuesday, lasting only a few seconds, without any public outcry -- as quiet as the ensuing hearing about his rehiring…Read more...

  • Teen Behind Cryptic Video To Be Released, Bomb Squad Checks School (WBNS)
  • A teenager accused of making a video that other parents and students deemed threatening was in juvenile court…Read more...


  • Ohio welcomes Teach for America (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • Just as Gov. John Kasich promised in his State of the State address in 2011, Teach for America graduates finally can teach in Ohio. So far, about 50 are assigned…Read more...

  • Ditching private schools (Los Angeles Times)
  • A study released last week by the libertarian Cato Institute showed that students are transferring in unexpectedly large numbers from private schools to charter schools…Read more...

The New Ohio Teacher Evaluation System

American Society Today has a great post up, that they have kindly allowed us to reproduce. If you're not bookmarking or following American Society Today, you're missing out on some great stuff.

As a result of Ohio House Bill 153, Ohio's budget, the legislature has mandated new standards for teacher evaluations. These new mandates apply to both Race to the Top districts and districts that did not receive Race to the Top funds. The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) was given the task of developing the new Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES pronounced [ō-tĕs]). Ohio Senate Bill 316, the Mid-Budget Review made some changes to these requirements, so the requirements have continued to change. Despite these changes, there is a framework that has emerged as the basic structure for the system. Here is a link to Frequently Asked Questions about OTES from ODE: FAQs

ODE has recently released some videos on YouTube to help educate people about Ohio's new Teacher Evaluation System. These videos have been embedded below.

Ohio's Teacher Evaluation System-What's Changing?

Evaluation of Teacher Performance-How Will This Work?

 Evaluation of Student Growth Measures-How Will This Work?

In this video he does not talk a lot about the locally determined measures of student growth, which will be the measures used for the majority of teachers. The process that ODE has developed for developing these is known as Student Learning Objectives (SLOs), which he mentions in the video but does not explain. Here is a link to more information about Student Learning Objectives from the Symposium on Teacher Evaluations that ODE provided on May 25, 2012:
Here is a link to brief explanation of the Student Learning Objective process from ODE: Student Learning Objectives
Here is a link to the template checklist for writing Student Learning Objectives: SLO Checklist

Teacher Ratings -How Will They Be Used?

In this video he does not talk a lot about performance pay or employment decisions, which to many people are the most important topics related to teacher evaluations in Ohio. Ohio HB 153 requires that teachers who are rated "Accomplished" be paid more than teachers who are rated "Proficient." Also, any teacher rated "Ineffective" for two out of three years may not be renewed. Local districts will be developing these new performance pay systems over the next couple of years.

Education News for 04-27-2012

Statewide Education News

  • State may alter plan for grading schools (Dispatch)
  • Columbus School Superintendent Gene Harris says the state’s proposal does not give schools enough credit for student improvement and graduation rates. Columbus School Superintendent Gene Harris and others took issue yesterday with a new state plan to hand out letter grades to Ohio schools — significantly below current levels, in most cases — and they might get some of what they want. Read More…

Local Issues

  • TPS Students have 'aha' moment (Toledo Blade)
  • Test packets, heaped onto a cart, scattered across Robinson Elementary's hallway. The mass of paper was a temporary hassle for Principal Anthony Bronaugh, but it was covered in positive signs: Most tests had been finished by Robinson's students, and not in a flippant fashion. Children took the test seriously. "If I went based on effort," Mr. Bronaugh said, "we would be at academic excellence." Read More…

  • Olentangy athletic director says he made mistakes in handling money (Dispatch)
  • An Olentangy schools athletic director has resigned, and another has been reprimanded after they failed to document $11,000 in expenses from a tournament account. The school board accepted the resignation of Tom Gerhardt, the athletic director for Olentangy Liberty High School, at a meeting tonight. It is effective at the end of the school year. Read More…

  • Schools: Senior Pranks Costly, Dangerous To Schools (WBNS – 10TV)
  • Bexley City Schools officials said that they were taking a proactive approach when it comes to senior pranks and vandalism, CrimeTracker 10's Jeff Hogan reported Thursday. CrimeTracker 10 obtained new surveillance video of 10 students entering Northland High School earlier this month with a stolen set of keys. Students threw eggs and smeared baby oil on steps. Police found a grocery receipt for the eggs at the scene and the students admitted to police that it was a prank, Hogan reported. Read More…

  • Students’ video portrays consequences of distracted driving (Vindicator)
  • A lecture about impaired or distracted driving won’t do much good, but a video showing teens the consequences can be a whole different story, Newton Falls High School junior Taylor Blandine said. “They’d lose interest real soon in a lecture,” Blandine said Thursday morning after juniors and seniors at her school watched a video she and dozens of other Trumbull County high-school students produced. Read More…

  • Lima board to consider lowering GPA requirement for sports, extras (Lima News)
  • In an effort to stay competitive and give students opportunities to participate in athletics and other extracurricular activities, Lima schools is considering lowering what is required academically to take the field. Currently students must have a 1.75 GPA to participate in athletics or any extracurricular activity that students don't get a grade for. The district's Athletic Board of Control voted last week to lower it to 1.5. Read More…

  • Liberty school items located (Vindicator)
  • Educational equipment that Liberty’s former conversion schools purchased with federal grants has been stored at the Portage County Educational Services Center, the schools’ current sponsors, since February, officials from the conversion schools said. Cheryl Emrich, executive director at Portage County ESC, said in an email that the center had turned over to the Ohio Department of Education Community Schools Division an inventory of what was being held at the center. Read More…

Editorial & Opinion

  • Guarantee the guarantee (Akron Beacon Journal)
  • The Ohio Senate Education Committee is considering the proposal for a third-grade reading guarantee included in Gov. John Kasich’s midterm budget review. The measure would hold back in the third grade students who are not proficient readers at grade level after two or more years in a reading intervention program. It requires also that schools provide intensive remediation until the students meet the proficiency standard. Read More…

  • School sale a wise move for district, community (Marietta Times)
  • The Marietta City Schools Board of Education approved the sale of the former North Hills Elementary School and property Monday, nearly a decade after the school closed. We think that was a wise move that will benefit the district and the community. Read More…

Merit pay and the candle problem

Let us pretend for one moment that many of the corporate education reforms being proposed offered more than just a metaphorical big stick with which to fire teachers more easily, but also a few carrots too in the form of extra money toward paying high performers as determined by their students test scores. Yes, yes, we know.

Let's go even further, and pretend that student test scores were the perfect means with which to judge the effectiveness of any teacher. What do we know of financial incentives? From Nature magazine.

here's a simple fact we've known since 1962: using money as a motivator makes us less capable at problem-solving. It actually makes us dumber.

In the 1940, an experiment was carried out, now referred to as the "Candle Problem". The experiment has the participant try to solve the problem of how to fix a lit candle on a wall in a way so the candle wax won't drip to the floor. The participant can only use (along with the candle) a book of matches and a box of thumbtacks.

Let's go back to that Nature article to explain the rest of the experiment, and it' counterintuitive results

The only answer that really works is this: 1.Dump the tacks out of the box, 2.Tack the box to the wall, 3.Light the candle and affix it atop the box as if it were a candle-holder. Incidentally, the problem was much easier to solve if the tacks weren't in the box at the beginning. When the tacks were in the box the participant saw it only as a tack-box, not something they could use to solve the problem. This phenomenon is called "Functional fixedness."

Sam Glucksberg added a fascinating twist to this finding in his 1962 paper, "Influence of strength of drive on functional fixedness and perceptual recognition." (Journal of Experimental Psychology 1962. Vol. 63, No. 1, 36-41). He studied the effect of financial incentives on solving the candle problem. To one group he offered no money. To the other group he offered an amount of money for solving the problem fast.

Remember, there are two candle problems. Let the "Simple Candle Problem" be the one where the tacks are outside the box -- no functional fixedness. The solution is straightforward. Here are the results for those who solved it:

Simple Candle Problem Mean Times :
WITHOUT a financial incentive : 4.99 min
WITH a financial incentive : 3.67 min
Nothing unexpected here. This is a classical incentivization effect anybody would intuitively expect.

Now, let "In-Box Candle Problem" refer to the original description where the tacks start off in the box.

In-Box Candle Problem Mean Times :
WITHOUT a financial incentive : 7:41 min
WITH a financial incentive : 11:08 min
How could this be? The financial incentive made people slower? It gets worse -- the slowness increases with the incentive. The higher the monetary reward, the worse the performance! This result has been repeated many times since the original experiment.

We've published a video on this phenomenon before, titled "As Teacher Merit Pay Spreads, One Noted Voice Cries, ‘It Doesn’t Work’", and an article from the Harvard Business Review, titled "Stop Tying Pay To Performance".

Here's another video - The surprising truth about what motivates us

Knowing all this begs the question, why are we going down the path of some of these corporate education reforms, when we have known for over half a century many of them are flawed concepts that have been demonstrated to fail time and time again?

VIDEO: Merit Pay, Teacher Pay, and Value Added Measures

Value added measures sound fair, but they are not. In this video Prof. Daniel Willingham describes six problems (some conceptual, some statistical) with evaluating teachers by comparing student achievement in the fall and in the spring.

YouTube for Teachers

We thought this was interesting enough to share. Youtube, the popular video sharing site has created a channel just for educators. You can view, share and even upload educational videos. YouTube provides teachers with ten reasons why their Youtube teachers channel could be useful in the classroom:

  1. Spark Lively Discussion: Engage students by showing a video relevant to their lives. Video clips can bring in different perspectives or force students to consider a new viewpoint, helping to spark a discussion.
  2. Organize all the great video content you find: Playlists are YouTube’s way of allowing you to organize videos on the site. When one video ends, the playlist plays the next video without offering ‘related videos,’ thus creating a curated environment for you students.
  3. Archive your work: Capture and save projects and discussions so you can refer back to them year after year. This will also help you save time as you can assign old videos to your new students.
  4. Allow students to dig deeper into a subject: Give students the option to dig deeper into a subject by creating a playlist of videos related to that concept. By creating playlists of relevant videos you allow students to pursue their interests without wasting their time searching for information (or finding potentially objectionable content).
  5. Get struggling students to speed up and push strong students ahead: Videos (or playlists) can help supplement in class teaching for struggling students. Students can review them at home time so you’re not forced to teacher exclusively to the middle 50%.
  6. Review for upcoming exams: Turn test review and flashcards into easy-to-watch videos. This way students can hear your explanations as they study. You can also create a “test review” video students can use to study the night before the big test.
  7. Create a YouTube center in your classroom: When working in stations or centers, have students use your YouTube channel to complete an assignment, freeing you upto work with small groups of students.
  8. Create quizzes to accompany videos for instant feedback: Create a Google Form that students complete after watching a video. You can use this quiz to get instant feedback on what they’re learning.
  9. Create Interactive Video Quests: Use YouTube annotations to create “Choose your own adventure” style video quests. You can also create a video guide.
  10. Flip your classroom: If your students watch a video of the basic concepts at home you can focus in class on applying those concepts, working collaboratively with their classmates rather than simply listening to you lecture.

You can find our more here.