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.

 

 

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