I’ve been wondering why no one is talking about the “teacher incentive payment program” that Governor Kasich has included in his budget proposal.  Are we wondering if maybe it’s a good thing?  Are we thinking that maybe we want to keep this component of his proposal because it offers teachers a chance at getting more money?

Well, today I have the details.  I have the projected dollar amounts and where those students and teachers are located.  And I’m going to tell you why all teachers should summarily reject the Governor’s proposal as an insult to education.

I’ll warn you in advance that this issue has many layers, and I didn’t even come close to addressing them all.

First the background:

In the budget bill (HB 153, Sec. 3302.23), the Governor proposes paying teachers fifty dollars per student for a class where students demonstrate more than a standard year of growth as determined by the Ohio Department of Education’s value-added model, a measure based on Ohio’s standardized tests.  This growth is designated as Green on the state’s report (Yellow designates a year, Red designates less than a year; full reports can be found in the Ratings folder)

These results are only applicable to students in grades 4-8 in Reading and Math.  In co-teaching situations, or situations where students grow in both areas, teachers will split the stipend equally.  A single student represents a single fifty dollar stipend.

Kasich’s rationale from his Reform Book reads:

Reward Superior Educators
What will change
Pay teachers a per-student bonus for every student in a class which achieves more than one year growth as measured by the value-added dimension of the local report cards.
Why this change is important
Teachers who are helping students gain more than a year‘s growth in a year deserve to be rewarded.

But let me put those statements into context for you.  The heading and sentence that immediately precedes these reads:

Put Superior Teachers in Every Classroom,
Excellent Principals in Every School
We will make Ohio the preferred destination for creative, talented educators including Teach for America.


LAYER #1 — All professional educators in Ohio should find the Governor’s comparison to Teach for America insulting, at best.  For more detail, you can read my comprehensive critique of TFA on Facebook.

So if I let that insult to professional educators slide and focus instead on the “Reward” that is promised, I need to know what this reward looks like.

The Ohio Department of Education databases for Value-Added results do not identify teachers or specific classrooms, but they do identify student counts in grade levels by schools.  Using this data set, I projected the total stipend amounts that would have been paid out over the past four years.

2007: $20,854,900.00
2008: $18,660,050.00
2009: $20,240,000.00
2010: $15,918,150.00

Why the significant drop for 2010?  The value-added calculations were “reset” to better balance the results.  According to ODE:

  • A stabilization process was included as part of the value-added analysis to provide you with more useful and consistent information about grade and subject gains. This will provide a more even distribution of value-added results for subject- and grade-level ratings.
  • This typically happens every 3-4 years to better reflect current state performance averages.
  • Over the past two years, there have been considerable skews in the grade- and subject- level gains for a cohort from one year to the next. Value-added models assume there is vertical alignment in the rigor of tests, that is, the rigor in this years’ fourth-grade reading test is of the same amount of rigor in next years’ fifth-grade reading test. However, the previous assessments were not created with consideration for value-added analysis needs. Until Ohio launches the new assessments, the addition of the stabilization process is a necessary interim solution to providing Ohio practitioners full utilization of value-added information.

Hmm.  According to the Ohio Department of Education the tests that we are using to judge the performance of teachers and students for annual growth “were not created with consideration for value-added analysis needs.”  And these tests will remain in place until new assessments are launched (SY 2013-2014).

The Governor wants to use a flawed model to calculate not only Teacher Incentive Pay, he is also proposing using this value-added model as a key component of school district funding (LAYER #2) and as a key measure in the evaluation of an individual teacher’s compensation (LAYER #3).

Okay, I threw those substantial Teacher Incentive Program payments at you without much warning or detail, so let’s take a second look.

2007: $20,854,900.00
2008: $18,660,050.00
2009: $20,240,000.00
2010: $15,918,150.00

Remembering that these numbers represent $50 per student, we can extrapolate the following numbers of students who demonstrated more than a year of growth each those years.

2007: 417,098
2008: 373,201
2009: 404,800
2010: 318,363

Anyone should question a sudden drop of 1/4 in the population of students demonstrating progress.  Did anyone hear this when it became public last August?  In the leadup to the election, wouldn’t a huge drop in student achievement have been trotted out by Kasich as a condemnation of Strickland’s policies?  OF COURSE it would have.  And the fact that it wasn’t reinforces the notion that student achievement did not suffer, it was the recalculation of Value-Added scores that caused this apparent drop.

This demonstrates the significant effect the recalculation of the value-added model has on the final numbers, and on incentive pay, and teacher salary, and district funding.



LAYER #4: You may remember that Governor Kasich has also proposed another component to “hold teachers accountable” in his Reform Book:

Test Teachers in Poor-Performing Schools
What will change
Teachers employed in a school identified in the bottom [ten] percent of the state‘s schools on the basis of student results will be required to take licensure tests.
Why this change is important
Struggling schools need to be sure teachers are competent and fully capable of teaching their assigned curriculum. Testing teachers to be sure they know their content and basic pedagogy is a key step in this process.
Testing will make sure teachers are competent in the subjects they are teaching. Limiting this provision to poor-performing schools will minimize costs and avoid unnecessary burdens on quality schools.

(I posted a detailed discussion of  teacher testing last week.)


In my previous post, I alluded to the fact that under Kasich’s proposal, teachers could receive incentive pay AND have to retake the Praxis exams.  I have confirmed this to be true.  Based on the ODE data, I can only calculate the number of grades (classes) and schools affected in this manner.

2008: 741 out of 3342 classes
2009: 1123 out of 4175 classes
2010: 860 out of 3146 classes

In 200822% of the teachers receiving Teacher Incentive Pay would need to retake their Praxis exams.

In 200927% of the teachers receiving Teacher Incentive Pay would need to retake their Praxis exams.

In 201027% of the teachers receiving Teacher Incentive Pay would need to retake their Praxis exams.

Why? “Teachers who are helping students gain more than a year‘s growth in a year deserve to be rewarded” because “Struggling schools need to be sure teachers are competent and fully capable of teaching their assigned curriculum.”


So you’re still wondering why teachers should reject a payment of $16,000,000?  For starters, that money is only available to the 30% of teachers who have value-added data.  Most educators would philosophically disagree with the premise that “Teachers who are helping students gain more than a year‘s growth in a year deserve to be rewardedonly refers to reading and math teachers in grades 4-8.  In fact, take a poll of those 4th grade reading teachers and ask them to talk about the K-3 teachers that taught their students previously.  Those teachers who actually taught the children to read but are not being rewarded.

While Kasich has distracted the teachers with dollar signs with his left hand, his right hand is relieving us of salary for experience and education.  The Governor thinks that dangling a $16 million dollar carrot in front of Ohio’s teachers will dazzle us so much so that we won’t notice him trying to reduce our collective salaries by 5%, or $310 million dollars.  Kasich wants to cut the pay for all teachers and believes that offering a paltry incentive to some teachers will make up for it.

And for this process, Kasich wants to bastardize a tool (value-added) that has many useful applications for teachers, schools, and districts, but was never intended to be used for the purpose of evaluating teachers or determining compensation.  Think of a hammer.  That a hammer has many useful applications in a variety of scenarios would not be debated.  But using a hammer to break your car window to retrieve your car keys would be considered a misapplication of the tool.

Someone appears to have sold Kasich on value-added as an elixir for every educational ailment he sees, and he’s using it generously.  But Kasich has been misled.  The Ohio Department of Education states repeatedly that the data, based exclusively on standardized test results, is not intended for these purposes.


But look, let’s not argue about the details, right?  This is just the stuff that teacher unions tell you to try and make the Governor look stupid.

As if  he needs any help with that.


  • Annekarima

    The man called the police officer an “idiot” and that has now been heard around the world. What did his school teachers do to him that has made him want to punish them? Does this man called governor hold long long grudges?

  • Annekarima

    The man called the police officer an “idiot” and that has now been heard around the world. What did his school teachers do to him that has made him want to punish them? Does this man called governor hold long long grudges?

  • Annekarima

    The man called the police officer an “idiot” and that has now been heard around the world. What did his school teachers do to him that has made him want to punish them? Does this man called governor hold long long grudges?

  • Annekarima

    The man called the police officer an “idiot” and that has now been heard around the world. What did his school teachers do to him that has made him want to punish them? Does this man called governor hold long long grudges?

  • Guest

    Because he is an evil man-child with delusions of grandeur. Unfortunately, he is “the soc-called” Governor of Ohio. That makes him a dictator for four years minus however many days are left. He is an elected Republican after all; so it just follows that he hates people especially non-rich ones. They value money before and always over people. That is their true value. Notice how the always talk about money. Really listen to them.
    Why do people vote for them again? Why don’t more of my friends vote? Actually, that is the more important question.

  • Sluggo

    Good work, Greg. Nice analysis.

  • Annekarima

    The man is a useful patsy for the rest of the patsies at the moment. He probably is not evil. Could be in the long scheme of things, but probably is not. Nor is he a dictator though he may like to be, but the state nor nation is at that point yet. He acts like a person who was possibly mistreated by authority figures when he was a child. He has never forgotten. Powers that perhaps be have seemed to have taken advantage of that. Simple formula really.

  • Colred

    I resent the fact that students are being treated like ripe cumquats on the shelf. Fifty dollars for each student who does something? Are they trained dogs? No, they are students who have the right to learn at their pace and not be put under pressure in order to prove a teacher’s worth.

  • Anonymous

    Teach for America turns college graduates into teachers after a few weeks of training and Kasich thinks it is wonderful! Why? Kasich will go to any length to minimize the education, training, and experience of the public school teachers in Ohio. We don’t have a teacher shortage in Ohio and we certainly don’t need to bring in unqualified people to waste a school year with our students. What if a school district refuses to hire these TFA candidates? What if parents refuse to have inexperienced TFA people in their schools? Will experienced teachers be pink-slipped to bring in cheaper, inexperienced TFA people?

  • Jacobbeth_

    Greg… what can I say? Your analysis is fantastic, spot on in terms of the shell game being played out in our legislature. Kudos to you, and I hope you reproduce this article in many forms so that it reaches our Gov, et al.

  • Dear Governor Kaisack,
    I would like to make you an offer so that we could develop a beautiful relationship. I would like to offer you my job for 1 week. You will start at 8 and work until 3:30 officially. You will have 30 minutes for lunch which will start before you get your students to recess and end 5 minutesl early because you must be at the cafeteria before the students leave the lunch room at the end of your 30 minutes. You will need to write lesson plans for each subject area I teach, and include the standards you will address. First you will teach language arts. This includes phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and you will need to include writing in this time period of about 90 minutes. You will need to have about 30 minutes for reading centers that are to be based on students’ areas that they need to practice and improve on. You will at this time work with 4-6 students on specific areas needed for improvement. Then you have math. For math you need to include a warm up, problem solve, a focus lesson and Differentiated Instruction (math centers that are aimed at specific areas of improvements). All math must include manipulatives. While the students are at specific centers you will be with a group of 4-6 working on areas of need. You will teach2- ½ hours of science and social studies during the week. You will have to do a Morning Message and calendar every day along with 100 Book Challenge 2 times a day for about 20 minutes. This includes a mini lesson reading and share out when done. While the students read you are coaching individual students in their reading. You will have 1 45 minute plan time 4 days a week. During this time you will stuff the students take home folders, sign log sheets, grade papers, and prep for the next lessons with the many manipulatives . You may have a Intervention team meeting about students who are having difficulties in class or meet with your grade level team for collegial planning. You will call parents you need to talk to or see, if they have a phone number that works. You will have this time to check on the community tutors you are in charge of. Help any other teacher who may need books for 100 Book Challenge program which you are the coordinator for. You will have tie shoes, wipe noses, zip coats, referee disputes, and remind the students what you should or should not tattle about. You will give the students 2-3 bathroom breaks while you only have lunch and maybe your plan time to go. After school you may have a teacher meeting or professional development if you are not tutoring. Your tutoring is from 3:00 to 5:30 There is the school improvement team you are on that you must meet with and parents to call or see. You must decide what to do with the student who is not on his meds for ADDHD and how to address the 3 students you know are special ed but have not yet been identified. There is an after school program for the students and parents that you must help run and attend. I feel that you are going to love working with my 98% low income inner city children as much as I do. So please take up my offer so we too can develop a beautiful relationship and then maybe you will allow me a raise and be able to keep my benefits because even with out incentive pay I DESERVE ALL I MAKE BECAUSE I WORK DAMN HARD FOR IT !!!!!!!
    Carrie E Preston

  • Anonymous

    I know the type. I lived the type. You see other people with more and wonder why your parents don’t have more. And somewhere along the way, you start to think that maybe your people are bad people, if they can’t get ahead. Then you start thinking that maybe the people that did get ahead didn’t have just a leg up to start with, or a good idea for many people (because you and your people have good ideas, too). You start to think that maybe they’re blessed, and that maybe they’re “chosen” somehow. Rewarded by the God you keep hearing is saving up the best of heaven for special people.

    Hey, you come from people who play the lottery a lot, hoping for an extra win here and there, or who save up to take a bus to Atlantic City and hope to strike it rich with the nickel slots. Not hard to leap to thinking that maybe some of their luck will rub off on you if you can just please them enough. After all, you’ve been trying to please the big luck-dealer in the sky all your life. Pleasing the recipients of that blessing must count for something, right? You’re like them, you’re one of them, and pretty soon, maybe you’ll start being blessed like them. Maybe you’ll be somebody.

  • Joemetz

    This whole notion is so flawed. Kasich claims he wants to make Ohio the state that will draw teachers in to work in. And yet, what incentive does this proposal give that would draw in the best teachers to schools in the greatest need? Students with great needs, whether because of disabilities or because of socio-economic conditions, require great attention to help them learn. And for their success, we’re going to force them to take tests that teachers in other, more successful school don’t have to take? Why would any prospective teacher choose to go into such a situation?

    And why would someone choose to teach K-3 classes when you’re not eligible for these “bonuses”? For that matter, why would you want to be the teacher who gets the kids that have met the bonus levels and are possibly plateauing? And ultimately if and when a school succeeds, the teachers will no longer get these “bonuses”.

    And, as others have noted, children learning are not a commodity, they’re human beings, all at differing levels of ability. Can you imagine the short shrift struggling students might get because they’re holding back the rest of the class and, thereby, decreasing the money the teacher can earn.

    Really, as a society, we’re just plain stupid thinking these proposals are the way to go. It just makes your head hurt and doesn’t address real problems various schools face. Oy!

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