That’s not a misprint.  When the GOP passed the budget bill this week, they left a provision in the teacher performance pay section (that is NOT distinctly different than Senate Bill 5, regardless of Mr. Batchelder’s lens) that shall measure a teacher’s performance by considering whether the teacher is a “breather” as is defined in Ohio Revised Code.  [Sec. 3317.141; B2, page 1685].

Okay, so they don’t exactly use the word “breather” in the legislation, but they could have.  In the budget bill legislation, as in SB5, they have mandated that school boards will develop salary schedules based on a teacher’s performance, including whether the teacher is a “highly qualified teacher.

A brief history: the designation of “highly qualified” was a part of the controversial No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, ten years ago.  It was meant to ensure that all teachers had a bachelor’s degree, full state certification, and competency in each core academic subject area.  Because of Ohio’s progressive education policies, this process was largely irrelevant to Ohio teachers, with the only major exception being special education teachers who are often tasked with teaching all of the subjects to struggling learners in high school.  Universities had to alter their curriculum in order to accommodate these changes.

Now, in 2011, this designation is a basic requirement for employment, and the state of Ohio agrees.  Consider this text from the Ohio Department of Education’s Highly Qualified Teacher Toolkit:

Newly hired and veteran teachers must satisfy the definition of a Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT). Veteran teachers must have been [highly qualified] by the end of the 2005-2006 school year. Federal regulations require that new and newly hired teachers be highly qualified at the time of hire.

It is against FEDERAL REGULATIONS to employ teachers that are not highly qualified.

So, the statement might as well read:

Newly hired and veteran teachers must satisfy the definition of a Human Being. Veteran teachers must have been alive and well by the end of the 2005-2006 school year. Federal regulations require that new and newly hired teachers be breathing at the time of hire.

Wow.  Those Republicans really know how to get tough on education.  They should really include someone who knows something about education instead of searching Google for “education buzzwords.”  And this is only one ignorant paragraph from a 4,000 page bill chock full of ignorant provisions.

Says Kathy Christie, chief of staff for the Education Commission of the States, about merit pay in Ohio:

That is the type of component that really, really resonates with the public. If you are not pulling your weight, if you are not getting performance, if you are not tenacious and really trying to learn and all those sorts of things you want to see teachers doing, then you don’t move up at all, and I tell you, you run that by public opinion and you get a thumbs-up every time.

So true.  I’m sure public opinion supports districts hiring teachers who are living, breathing, human beings.

 

 
  • Anonymous

    These Republicans writing this legislation about the qualifications required for teaching must know absolutely nothing about what it takes to teach. I’d bet some of these know-it-all’s would not have lasted half a day in some of the classrooms I’ve worked. It should be a requirement that members of the Ohio House and Senate spend two school days per year visiting public school classrooms in city and suburban schools. I’m sure that there are some teachers that would gladly allow these elected officials to spend a few hours in the classroom.

  • Anonymous

    These Republicans writing this legislation about the qualifications required for teaching must know absolutely nothing about what it takes to teach. I’d bet some of these know-it-all’s would not have lasted half a day in some of the classrooms I’ve worked. It should be a requirement that members of the Ohio House and Senate spend two school days per year visiting public school classrooms in city and suburban schools. I’m sure that there are some teachers that would gladly allow these elected officials to spend a few hours in the classroom.

  • dlw

    And yet, not all Ohio teachers are highly qualified.

  • Real Get Real

    Ohio is being run by amateurs. Any “merit” system that doesn’t even know what the heck it is supposed to be measuring will be an epic fail and a joke. The GOP and Kasich have no idea what is a Highly Qualified Teacher or what it means to be a teacher. Look instead for yet more massive idiotic paperwork for administrators and teachers to fill out that has no meaning and has no correlation to actual classroom performance.

  • guest

    When true, it is because of administrative failure in hiring and placement. Principals and personnel have no excuse for not knowing this law that has been around for a decade. Highly Qualified status is only measured by what a teacher’s current assignment is. If they don’t stack up, administration has the responsibility for that error.

    Well, at least Teach for America will be riding in to Ohio to save us very soon.

  • Guest

    Evil and stoopid. No wonder the radical R’s hate teachers. Just another example of them setting us up to fail then calling us failures. The radical R’s are the party of 100% of nothing but heartache except for the evil richies who donated to oops I mean bought our govt from us.

  • Anastasjoy

    And yet, Teach for America teachers are not “highly qualified” by the standards other teachers have had to adhere to. It’s pure insanity to be laying off thousands of well-qualifed teachers and bringing in scabs … I mean, TFA kids … to struggle for two years and just when they might get over their culture shock and get the hang of reaching their kids, they bail and go to grad school or law schools or business school — and get it paid for. Nice job if you can get it — for them. But not for the kids who need stability, consistency and experienced teachers. I wonder what the reaction would be if these TFA kids were sent into upper-rmiddle-class suburban schools?

  • Anonymous

    This Kathy Christie sounds just like Sarah Palin and Dubya, rolled up in a rhetorical corn tortilla of stupid.

    Look at all the platitudes and cliches in her comments. I see about 5. Anyone see more? I mean, I just keep reading that breakout box and laughing at what a moron she is.

    Mark Twain said that God made idiots. That was for practice. Then He made school boards.

    I would submit that the idiots God used for practice — those were education bureaucrats like Kathy Christie, “chief of staff for the Education Commission of the States.”

    What the hell is the Education Commission of the States? It sounds made up — like George Costanza’s phony Christmas card where he tells his co-workers that he has made a donation in their name to THE HUMAN FUND.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, Kasich can’t even try to kill public schools correctly. If he were at all efficient at his job, or had any interest in planning or leading or perhaps even working (e.g., putting down the cheese coney and using your brain to solve something), he easily could have killed public schools and destroyed teaching as a public-sector profession. He certainly has the motivation; he just lacks the competence.

    Didn’t ALEC pretty much lay all this stuff out for these GOP governors? All they had to do was follow the instructions on the back of the box, for God’s sake. It’s like screwing up a paint-by-numbers portrait.

    So in his zeal to punish public school teachers because they snubbed him, Kasich will actually end up lowering teacher competency standards (guess who those lower standards might help? C’mon, just guess) and creating more expenses, more bureaucracy.

    If he weren’t so mean-spirited and shitty, his incompetence would almost be cute. It’s sorta precious to see an old man bloat and bellow about something he knows nothing about, just because he has grown increasingly irrelevant and impotent — knows it deep down — and still wants to hear himself roar.

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    I suspect they would be out of the school door before the bell rings.
    Do you ever wonder if these people thinking up this stuff are children on the 60’s?

  • These are the provisions being put into the Budget Bill. Provisions that incorporate standards for teachers that are no longer relevant…

  • Sluggo

    Greg – I realize your being sarcastic here but the new teacher evaluation system in HB153 is much tougher than the HQT requirement. The evaluation system requires teachers be rated unsuccessful, needs improvement, effective, or highly effective. 50% of a teacher’s evaluation is based on value-added scores from achievement tests. The other 50% is from observations, standards of professionalism, and measures of student and teacher satisfaction from surveys.

    Value added is a statistical measure that is not nearly accurate enough to measure a teacher’s effectiveness for high stakes decisions such as retention and pay. There are numerous papers on this – here is one that explains the issue well:
    http://goo.gl/Wmc6uFurthermore, the state superintendent will designate minimum value-added scores necessary to attain each teacher rating. This requirement has the effect of magnifying rating teachers by test scores beyond 50%. If a teacher doesn’t meet the minimum value-added requirement they can’t be rated as effective no matter how well they do on the other components of the evaluation.

    Finally, the House ups the anti by taking away continuing contracts from teachers who are unsatisfactory for two years in a row and needs improvement for three years or a combination for three years.

    Constructing an evaluation system in this manner will increase the pressure on kids and teachers when they take the exams. The bill requires local school districts to evaluate teachers every year and conduct two 30-minute observations which will increase administration expenses. Additionally, districts are required to purchase from a list of approved exams for teachers not covered by Ohio’s achievement tests, which will be very expensive.

    Lastly, using this evaluation system and linking it to pay, whether or not a teacher is retained during a time of layoffs, and whether or not a teacher can be dismissed will transform teaching into a low pay high risk occupation. Considering 50% of teachers leave within 5 years now, I imagine the numbers will get worse under the proposed system.

  • gmild

    Yea, I was only touching on that one small piece of the puzzle that overlaps SB5 and the budget. I chose this one because above all the others, it best illustrates the ignorance of legislators around the inclusion of these components in the bills.

    The overall evaluation piece grossly oversteps any existing research and will end up being more harmful than beneficial.

    It’s a damn shame that they are messing this up so badly for any future implementation. With no processes in place as guides, districts will have to make things up, and quickly, to meet deadlines. This will not go well for anyone.

  • Sluggo

    I think chaos is the point of all this. Delaware and Tennessee both adopted similar systems for their application to Race to the Top and they are finding out they don’t have the capacity to build the system and the data linkage for value added isn’t there.

    Here in Ohio, with a radical shift to an unproven system that will cause chaos coupled with a radical expansion of vouchers and charter school rules that beg for cronyism and boondoggles it’s pretty clear that Kasich & Company have the goal of undermining public education for the purpose of privatizing it.

    You are right – the HQT designation for pay is ridiculous.

  • How can the Ohio Republicans, who have proved they are unqualified, decide how to judge if a teacher is qualified. If they had any decency, they would all step down.

  • dlw

    Sometimes it’s administrator error in hiring… but more often than not, it’s about the needs at the school changing from year to year. For instance, if you have a particularly large class, when they move to 4th grade, you might need to add a class or two. It’s pretty common to move one of the 3rd grade teachers up with the class. And yet, if they have the K-3 license…… So what do you do? Fire the now extraneous K-3 teacher and hire a new teacher for the 4th grade? And what if you happen to know that next year’s K class is going to be huge and so you’re going to need that K-3 teacher again? The licensure structure has been particularly difficult on small districts because of situations like this.

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