Are Ohio teachers making the grade?

Revamped standards may soon make it a little tougher for teachers to get good grades.
Alissa Widman
Feb 4, 2013

Educators statewide are preparing for an overhaul of Ohio’s teacher evaluation system, which for the first time will rate teachers based on how much their students learn.

Evaluations currently follow no strict guidelines and are based almost entirely on a teacher’s performance.

Two components will now equally factor into a teacher’s yearly final grade:
• Teacher performance, or how well teachers perform during observations and on an evaluator’s rubric and written assessment.
• Student growth, or how well students perform on standardized tests and in other measurable areas.

For more on how this program will work and answers to frequently asked questions, pick up a copy of Monday's Register.

Comments

Maggdi

Oh boy! I'm getting out of here before the gates of H E double tooth picks open... 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,.... keep your heads down fellow travelers...

Justme...

I wish the first sentence had read "...which for the first time will rate teachers IN PART based on how much their students learn." If would have been more accurate and less selacious.

9299

In any business situation, would I want my job evaluation to depend on how preteens and teens perform on a standardized test, especially if the results don't affect the test taker (high school students do have to pass, but they have multiple tries if needed). Having worked in business and been a part of the evaluation process, this piece of teacher evaluations would give me fits. How would I get students to take the tests seriously when there is no incentive to do well (again, unless I am a high school student-even then, I just have to pass; I don't have to do better than that unless I have the drive to do so). Any ideas?

Kottage Kat

Kids learn
Teachers earn

9299

You make it sound so simple. Talk to a few teachers and see the challenges faced in this day and age. I also wonder what type of bonus (merit pay) amount will be available for those teachers who perform heroically? Seems a number of the community members want staff to take large pay cuts or be laid off. What is reasonable and fair compensation for educators at different levels and subjects? Is it fair, for example, to tell a prospective educator that his or her salary will be a base amount and will not to change year after year and may actually have to be reduced due to government actions or loss of local tax dollars? What do we expect from our educators? Would you encourage one of your children to go into education given the current job prospects and negativity that permeates through community? I have already discouraged my college age student from thinking about going into education. The realities are that it is quickly becoming a thankless, difficult job, and one cannot live on doing what you love if the salary won't help to support payment of student loans and a middle class life style.

Justme...

9399 anyone who has never had true evaluations before would have the same concerns. I don't blame you, but I personally think this is a necessary improvement.

donutshopguy

9299,

Ever get evaluated based on a group performance and half the group doesn't work? How about losing your job because the company loses a contract which is no fault of your?

Time for the teachers to come into the real world. Sorry they have had a sheltered life for the last 50 years. The same is true for other public employees. Buck up boys and girls.

9299

DonuGuy: Business evaluates employees on the job the employee does (at least the businesses I have worked in and been both evaluated and been an evaluator). The evaluation was not based on how others did after they were trained (educated, so to speak, by a trainer or supervisor). The individual is evaluated on the job he or she has done. Teachers should absolutely be evaluated on the job they do preparing students. However, once the student sits down to take the test, then the test evaluates how the student applies the information they have "learned"; it is not an evaluation of the teacher's ability to teach the subject matter. I have worked with young people for many years in a work situation and have seen how many have approached their jobs when getting paid and keeping employment were incentives to do a good job. Many did not last due to a variety of reasons. If I asked 100 people if they would agree to be evaluated based on how tweens and teens perform on a one time test, all would no doubt pass on the offer.

By the way, there are teacher evaluation procedures in place and have been in most districts. If the evaluation process wasn't followed, then the administration is at fault for not documenting poor (or good) performance. No teacher is "safe' in a job if the evaluation process is handled properly.

Losing a contract, IMO, is not similar to the situation I am describing. It would be if a teacher loses employment due to enrollment decline.

I have relatives who are and who have been teachers. I think that the "real world" has caught up with them some years ago. The public sector (teachers, government employees) has seen the most job loss of the past few years. Look around the state, multiple districts have cut staff and programs. Public sector employees have taken pay cuts, pay freezes, furlough days and so on just like the private sector. I would argue that some in the "private" sector don't truly understand the "ins and outs" of working in the public sector, but that's another discussion.

I find it difficult when anyone in the private or public sector is faced with a job loss. It bothers me that some on these blogs seem to relish or celebrate when it may come down to teachers, police, highway dept., etc. employees are going to be laid off. The public sector is up against it because it can't pass along increased costs like a private business can. In fact, school districts are prohibited by law from increasing revenues just to keep pace with inflation (thanks a lot HB 920). So districts revenue stream from a levy is held at a constant amount (until a new or replacement levy is passed), yet the spending power of the dollars collected continues to be eroded due to inflation. There aren't many businesses or households that have gone 13 years without an infusion of new money. So, the district looks for new revenue in the form of open enrollment and it gets criticized for doing that.

Those who don't like open enrollment probably don't even think about the Perkins kids who are going to Sandusky, the Townsend alternative school, or other districts. Last I knew, those students were taking $200,000-300,000 tax dollars with them to those districts.

donutshopguy

9299,

I don't agree that posters relish the loss of jobs but government/schools are service industries. The only way to reduce the size is by decreasing jobs. With a percentage of 80% of total expenditure being wages and benefits there are not many other options.

I am a proponent of smaller government. I am a proponent of less taxes. These two beliefs put me front and center as a person promoting reduction in force. I can live with that.

Do you believe our federal and state governments are just the right size? Do you believe the amount of their spending is correct? Be careful, if you don't agree then you are also a proponent of reduction in force.

I get the feeling you wish school spending to be controlled by the government and not subject to vote of the citizens. Is that correct? Be careful, if you agree you are a proponent of
reduction in constitutional rights to vote.

As a business person, I believe the use of open enrollment was a terrific idea. The school maximized the use of their facilities and their staff. No problem with me on that subject.

Speakezy

In my opinion a poor performing teacher is no different than a lazy ditch digger! If you suck at your job then find another one.

wiredmama222

That is the best analysis I have read yet! Simple and to the point

Bluto

So, they want to base a teachers pay on how well their students do . I guess arming them might come in handy after all . At least with some students . CLICK , PUT DOWN THE DAYDREAMING , AND PICK UP A PENCIL NOW , DIRTBAG !!! ; ))))

arnmcrmn

I know times are different these days but teacher's do need evaluated by someone other than a teacher in the same school system. Most kids are good kids and yes you will have a bad apple who doesn't want to learn nor cares too. As long as its documented that one tried to help them, I just dont by that a couple kids that one teaches all day, who are trouble kids will ruin their pay raise...etc.

Bluto

That's just it though . If the law is too vague then no teacher will want problem students in their classroom . I'm not just talking about rowdy kids either . Students with learning disabilities are more difficult to teach and take more time . If they are evaluated purely on student performance then the ones with the easy students won't be working nearly as hard . There would be less incentive for a teacher to specialize in children with special needs . Yes there are bad teachers , but there has to be a better way to weed them out then this . This will only hurt the kids in the long run .

Justme...

Bluto NO ONE is suggesting they get evaluated purely on student performance. Please be informed. Its just one part, because obviously that would be rediculous. Change is hard...

Bluto

That would be r-i-d-i-c-u-l-o-u-s sometimes spelling is hard as well . Sorry , couldn't resist ; ))) And , you are correct about evaluating purely on student performance . I just think it would be difficult to tell which teachers are getting off easier because they have naturally better students .

Justme...

That's why its just one part of the evaluation. Ignoring student performance makes the evaluation completely subjective. Including it gives the evaluator hard data. I get the fear, but I think its overblown.

arnmcrmn

I don't know of one job where you just show up, get raises based on just coming to work everyday and have no disciplinary action for doing a poor job.

Bottom line is the current evaluation method is flawed. Time to try something new.

Kottage Kat

My mother was a teacher
Worked a part time job to buy supplies
Not rich
Taught summer school to earn extra $
Tutored reading
Teachers today are financially far better off and perhaps do not have to work as hard

The Big Dog's back

kat, sounds like you "yearn" for the "good ole days".

Firelandsobserver

Perhaps they could base teacher evaluations not based solely on the students test performance but also with the amount of involvement parents have in student programs and PTA. The brunt of responsibility has fallen primarily on the teachers alone when student performance shouldn't be measured exclusively this way considering that a students home life and involvement of the parent / guardian is crucial for learning inside the classroom. This isn't simply a local issue but is occurring nationwide. I think the focus needs to broaden a bit to understand what the real issues are and how to fairly and effectively deal with them.

Truth or Fiction

When I went to school if I was disciplined by a teacher I prayed that my parents wouldn't find out because the punishment would be double. Today is not yesterday. Now teachers have to worry literally about life and death matters. Never would have heard about a lock down in my day. Never would have had a parent threaten a lawsuit or have a student spit in the teacher's face and then dare her to retaliate. Never mind the calls from irate parents who are positive their kid's statement of fact is the only believable one. I keep hearing how teachers have it made. Maybe I am missing something. Maybe it is a cake job taking care of 20 plus students in a 20 x 20 cubicle for 7 to 8 hours a day. Those extra hours preparing lessons, meeting parents, and grading papers is no biggy. And that continuing education thing that costs between thousands of dollars every three years plus class and study time is no sweat. Makes me want to rush right out there and get a teaching job.

arnmcrmn

@truth......spot on. Teachers rights have been severely revoked these days. Instead of teaching with both hands and arms.....rules, regulations and school boards have cut off both arms, bag gagged teachers, blind folded them and then asked to teach twice as much.

Regardless of the change of times, the evaluation system needs reevaluated.