Stephen Dyer · October 23, 2012
In last year’s budget bill, a provision was inserted that required core subject teachers in buildings that scored in the bottom 10% on the Performance Index to be re-tested. Schools can then use these re-tests in personnel decisions.
This spring the law was updated by SB 316. Now, the re-test requirement only applies to “teachers (who) have been rated ‘ineffective’ on evaluations for two of the three most recent years.” However, legislators and the governor actually approved the language of the budget bill, so in this post I put forward an examination of what lawmakers in Ohio actually voted to do and the consequence that action would have. There is no guarantee they won’t do this again.
Looking at the new Report Card data from last week, a total of up to 8,600 teachers would need to be re-tested in 35 districts under the budget language. It is difficult to know how many exactly would have been re-tested because the Cupp Report, which lists the number of full-time teachers, does not break them out by core and non-core subject teachers. The teachers listed there are the teachers who conduct “instructional service delivery of regular education to non-special and non-career tech education students.” If all the teachers listed in the Cupp Report had to be re-tested, it would be 8,617.
Some districts could have had more than 3 out of 4 teachers subject to testing, according to the data.
Is it really possible that all those teachers are to blame for low test scores, or even the fewer that will be tested post-SB 316? How about the fact that the average poverty rate in those 35 districts is about double that of the average Ohio district? The data and research indicate it is, in fact, poverty that drives test scores.
Take Warrensville Heights. More than 77% of that district’s teachers could need to be re-tested. In Cleveland, 69.4% could need re-testing. In Akron, 40%, and in Richmond Heights, 51%.
I include the list of districts, with the numbers of teachers in each eligible building, at the bottom of this post. The number required to take the test would have likely been less, but most teachers listed in the Cupp Report are, in fact, core teachers — especially in early grades. So it won’t be a huge difference.
The bottom line is this: Public school teachers get hammered for producing Performance Index Scores that are in line with what one would expect, given the demographics of the district. This “Blame the Teacher” movement is truly poisonous. Think about it. We expect teachers during the course of the day to serve as teachers, therapists, police officers and parents. And if the children don’t score well on a test whose outcome is all but assured given the district’s demographic makeup, then it’s the teachers’ fault. Or it’s the union’s fault.
So whose fault are the pitifully low scores of the non-union Charter Schools? Their average Performance Index score is worse than all but 5, or 0.8% of school districts.
Since there’s no similar outcry from the state’s leadership about Charter School teachers, I’m thinking that this isn’t really a teacher thing.
It’s a union thing.
|District||Number of Teachers Potentially
|Total Number of District Teachers||% of Districts Teachers Potentially Re-Tested||% of Children in Poverty|
|Warrensville Heights City||101||131||77.1%||60.17%|
|Columbus City School District||1785||2939||60.7%||81.86%|
|East Cleveland City School District||138||231||59.7%||88.47%|
|Youngstown City Schools||264||464||56.9%||91.87%|
|Jefferson Township Local||19||36||52.8%||5.26%|
|Richmond Heights Local||24||47||51.1%||52.98%|
|Garfield Heights City Schools||78||205||38.0%||64.74%|
|Maple Heights City||79||233||33.9%||70.79%|
|New Lexington City||29||114||25.4%||58.23%|
|Winton Woods City||35||230||15.2%||57.70%|
|Painesville City Local||27||183||14.8%||75.94%|
|Cleveland Heights-University Heights City||64||466||13.7%||61.25%|
|Groveport Madison Local||22||318||6.9%||57.98%|
Tagged in these Policy Areas: K-12 Education