Fairfield County Republican Party Chairman Kyle Farmer is the star of Better Ohio’s latest commercial that squarely attacks hardworking teachers head on by insinuating much and providing no semblance of anything that could be termed “factual.”  In the most ironic moment of the clip, the chairman mentions that he tells his students “you can’t believe everything you hear” and proceeds to back up that statement expertly for the remaining two-thirds of his time on-screen.

Here’s the skinny on the main talking point in the ad, teacher compensation:

“Good teachers will be rewarded for the job they do and the results that they achieve in the classroom.”

Yes, the classic GOP insinuation that teachers aren’t working hard and that we need to financially reward those teachers whose students are performing well on standardized tests.  The implicit meaning behind this opinion is that the number of teachers who would fall into this category is very small, so this is well within our financial means to enhance the pay of these top teachers.  Any guess as to why you don’t see the GOP put out data to support this claim?  The reason they don’t have the data is because the facts support the notion that the MAJORITY of teachers are performing at or above the expected level based on student achievement scores, and that if they were truly serious about rewarding these teachers, the budget for education would have to be dramatically increased.

And just before he makes the statement about rewarding teachers, Teachers for Kasich co-founder Farmer says that “Issue 2 will improve education,” clearly linking this financial incentive process and educational improvement in Ohio.  Again, they offer no data to prove such a claim, and back in May, we debunked their spoken belief in this concept by showing how the honest implementation of such a law would result in an increase in teacher salaries such that over a ten year span, the increase in costs would total nearly $12 billion more than under the current system, a reality that is not addressed in Kasich’s budget even for the next two years.

A line about funding from the Fiscal Note on HB136, the statewide voucher bill, provides a foundational point for understanding why Farmer is propagating a falsehood:

Furthermore, under the current funding formula for FY 2012 and FY 2013, total state aid is capped by the appropriations in those years, so an increase in ADM in one district may increase that district’s  calculated state aid but decrease state aid for all other districts.

As usual, that means that there is a ceiling on school funding – no additional money is coming in the next two years to provide for these “rewards” that SB5 supposedly provides.  Again, they think that only some of the teachers are doing well and will be rewarded and that the higher percentage of teachers are under-performing.

Imagine two teachers, both making $50,000 last year with a $100,000 cap.  It would be very convenient if one performed above average and the other performed below average as in this chart.

Teacher A

Teacher B

2010 Salary

$50,000

$50,000

2010 Performance

Below Average

Above Average

2011 Salary

$45,000

$55,000

But that’s not the reality in Ohio’s districts.  As I’ll show with ODE data in a minute, the chart in Ohio is more likely to look like:

Teacher A

Teacher B

2010 Salary

$50,000

$50,000

2010 Performance

Above Average

Above Average

2011 Salary

$50,000

$50,000

Notice there is no reward?  That’s because of Kasich’s cap on education funding.  The model they are promoting through their SB5 ads is fraudulent because it only works if there are an even number of teachers moving up and moving down at the same time.  To show how this is patently untrue, here is the student performance data from the Ohio Department of Education:

 

School Building Rating

Percentage of Buildings

Excellent with Distinction

9.9%

Excellent

45.6%

Effective

25.7%

Continuous Improvement

11.0%

Academic Watch

4.9%

Academic Emergency

2.9%

For last year, over 92% of the school buildings in Ohio rated as a “C” or above to use the common association of letter grades for these ratings, and a whopping 56% performed at the “A” or “A+” range, compared to a scant 8% in the lowest two ranges.  Even MORE remarkable is the fact that of those bottom 8% of schools, nearly half (43%) reported positive value-added scores for their tested students, meaning that even though the students may not have demonstrated proficiency, the students showed statistically significant gains of MORE THAN ONE YEAR of growth!

What does this information tell us?  It helps to prove that public school teachers and students in Ohio are performing very well under the “status quo” and that if you run these numbers for multiple years, you will see steady improvement.

Here’s the truth: Kyle Farmer’s bloated claims are bogus.  Look at the numbers.  With a capped budget and at least 81% of teachers potentially being labeled as “good” and 66% earning the label of “great,” what does Issue 2 fund these teachers’ rewards with?  THIS is why you don’t see numbers or facts in this commercial, because their hefty claim is a complete fabrication.

The claim that Issue 2 actually has any capacity to “reward good teachers” is a big fat lie.

 

VOTE NO ON ISSUE 2!

 

  • Anonymous

    The long range goal of this measure is to destroy public education in Ohio and America ,and replace public schools with charter schools. I am not an opponent of school choice, but the majority of students in America will always graduate from public schools.

    Too bad there is a Judas pimping for Kasich.

  • Anonymous

    The long range goal of this measure is to destroy public education in Ohio and America ,and replace public schools with charter schools. I am not an opponent of school choice, but the majority of students in America will always graduate from public schools.

    Too bad there is a Judas pimping for Kasich.

  • Anastasjoy

    Greg, I’ve really been enjoying the spreadsheet you posted in your post about the voucher bill. Lots of intriguing information. One of the things that fascinated me the most, given the narrative about the widespread deficiencies of public schools and the desperate need to replace them with failing White Hat charter schools as quickly as possible, was the ratings of the school systems. Only six school districts — mostly very poor ones like Warren and East Cleveland — rated “Academic watch.” More than 90 districts were “excellent with distinction” and although I didn’t count — but this post does the work for me — it seemed that a majority of school systems were rated “excellent” or higher.

    The idea of replacing something is working outstandingly well with something that is a proven failure at the expense of Ohio’s children and the state’s future is so corrupt and amoral, I hardly have words for it.  I listen to the latest Cuyahoga County flap about a former councilwoman allegedly taking a bribe for $2,000 and getting a job for her son and I think, “Why is that even on the radar when THIS is going on?” Who is costing the state more?

  • Anastasjoy

    I am not an opponent of school choice — when parents pay for it themselves. Education tax dollars should always only go for institutions that serve the entire population collectively. Any other use is unjust and financially unsustainable. I totally support your right to “choose” a Catholic school for your kids. I also totally defend my right not to have it paid for out of my tax dollars.

  • I am voting no on Issue 2, but this whole concept of rewarding good teachers with merit pay based on comparing all teachers across the state is flawed.  The only way merit pay works fairly is to compare a teacher against their annual plan and whether they met it or not.  It should truly be a bonus system like in the corporate world.  Comparing teachers does not work.  How can a teacher in Cleveland (where my wife teaches) be compared and compensated on merit to a teacher in Twinsburg (where my daughter goes to school).  It’s like comparing apples to filet mignon.  So, I think the point of your article was to say that the state will not have money for merit pay, which I believe.  The only way it works is to lower everyone’s salary 50% and then pay out merit pay at some lower percentage.  Otherwise SB5 is not about saving money (which it isn’t) as their stance has been since the beginning.  But if the way merit pay is going to be determined is as outlined in your article, good luck getting teachers to go to districts like Cleveland.  Actually, I talked to Josh Mandel re: this and he agrees that teachers cannot be compared across dissimilar districts, but he does not know what is fair.  That all has to be worked out.  Good luck with that.  Just see how redistricting is going.

  • Green Iris

    Something beginning to percolate in my brain  is that no educator in her/ his sane mind will apply for any position in any school that isn’t rated effective or excellent. Who knows what kind of teacher those at risk kids in the needing will get? I suppose those kids will get vouchers to the closest McSchool.

    I suppose then administration at top tier school systems can offer extremely low pay to applicants.

    Then the gap between top and middle will continue to widen. The bottom, —- written off forever.

  • Green Iris

    I guess great, public school educated minds think alike.

  • Anonymous

    Dave, keen observations.  I generally wanted to point out the errors in the logic of this particular component such that it can be observed as financially unsustainable unless cuts are made across the board as a starting point.  Your comments about cross-district comparisons are correct on many, many levels.  The claim that teachers will be rewarded simply has no factual basis in the law, regardless of party affiliation.

  • The judicial system has stated over 10 years ago that our schools are funded illegally by local taxes. But not one Governor including this one wants to decide how to legally and fairly fund our schools. Instead they dance around the issue and now Kasick is trying to destroy public schools and make them all private or charter schools. There is always a motive behind everything a politician does. Look closely at Kasick and think what is his real motive? It is not improving our schools or things would be written better. He would not be in such a hurry in changing things, and would not try to ram it down our throats. Please all general public and  teachers who are not really looking at the whole picture think, research and get to know more about what you are talking about. These changes are not to make things better for you, for the local economy, or most importantly our children.

     

  • Amen!

  • I’m in one of the schools not rated effective or excellent and even though I love my very needy students and have a passion to work with them in their education I am seriously thinking of transferring to another school if possible next year. It’s to bad an arse hole is taking a good teacher away from those who need one the most.

  • Can’t believe that he or that other teacher plan on teaching long.

  • Anonymous

    I’m 72 years old and when I was attending school in Ohio the teacher, on the first day of school,  passed out an informational sheet for students to take home to their parents stating the amount of money that would be allotted for each student in Ohio.  The amount was across the board for all Ohio students.  Governor Rhodes (R) brought to Ohio voters the system we operate under now – School Bond Issues, taxes on our property.  This is when our schools started going down hill.  The poorer areas can not stay up to par (education, payrolls and maintenance) with affluent and industrial areas. Most retired and under paid voters vote against the levies because they can’t or don’t feel they should support the schools through levies.  Income should support our schools not tax on our properties.  I vote against all school levies and always have in protest of the way our schools are funded.  Bring on the old way of fully funding our schools equally, across the board  or a new way that doesn’t include levies on our properties.  Present school funding in Ohio does not work for the education of our school age children nor is the pay equal for the administrators, teachers, maintenance, etc.!         
    Way before Rhodes, Governor Bricker (R) did away with the School Fund which was a fund that funded our schools and could not be used for any purpose other than the running of schools and educating students just like the State of Ohio Highway Fund is separate from the General Fund today.  Bricker moved the funding of schools to the General Fund.

  • ARRRGGGGGG!!!!!! Just saw this son of a beatch on TV during the news 2 times in 10 minutes! I could just slap him silly!!!!!!!! Hope his buddy Kasich has a job for him because if I taught in his district you better believe I would do all I could to run him out!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    According to the “always accurate” buckeye institute page, this guy has been teaching for 2 years and pulls in over $65k at a vo-ed school. I don’t know of any teachers, outside of published university faculty, that command that much salary with that little work experience.

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    The fact thats hes  a county republican chairman counts him OUT in my opinion.
    conflicting interests right there !! Wonder what made up post Kasich will give him…..and at what salary?

  • And to think, I’m distantly related to this schmuck. VOTE NO ON ISSUE TWO!

  • Jen

    I don’t drive on every road in my area, but my taxes go to help maintain all of them for the better good of my community, just like every other public service. 

  • Adrienne Knight

    Well said Mike D.

    Also, some other reasons to pay for school include:
    It is the right thing to do.  

    Someone did it for us so it is time pay back for what we got as children.

    We need an educated citizenry to make good decisions about elections (looks like that one isn’t working out so well).

    It our responsibility like funding for jails, roads, bridges, the department of offense (oops I meant DOD). Oops we don’t want to pay taxes so the infrastructure is falling apart…..

    Then we show that we aren’t any better than any other rotten dictatorship that pays for killing people (by police action) before educating our children. Oops looks like we are turning into that also. 

    Children today deserve as good or better than what we got, not worse.

    They are getting worse because of the rotten lying R’s, the bigoted hateful Tbag wing of the R’s  and especially  their rotten rich masters who see “the commons” as a big pile of money to be plundered for profit, ONLY.

  • Kasich is the worst thing that has ever happened to the state.  Can he be graded on performance and his salary adjusted.  I know that would save the state money, since a good part of the state thinks he is a tool of his corporate masters, and not worth the money the people of this state are paying him and his henchmen.

  • Oh and let us adjust his pension to match those of the teachers. He needs to pay 10% too and the gov. should not pay more than 12 or 14% of it.

  • Adrienne

    Hey MIO, the R’s can get worse and have over the last 40 years. 

  • Adrienne

    Hey MIO, the R’s can get worse and have over the last 40 years. 

  • They sure have.

  • I agree.

  • Suzannyr

    I’m voting yes

  • This guys is a FIRST-YEAR CAREER TECH teacher (and I use the term “teacher” loosely).  Anyone besides me think he was given a “teaching” job by some Tea Party Superintendent just so this ad could get made without getting a laugh track?  Oh yeah, as a CTE teacher myself, we don’t work in 4th grade classrooms.  His only problem is that as a “businessman,” he can’t earn the salary a competent, veteran teacher should.  Which he isn’t.

  • orion89

    I found out he teaches at the Fairfield Career Center, vocational programs. However, he is a social studies teacher. You’re right. I should’ve guessed he would be a social studies teacher. I just assumed he would be vocational education at this school.

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