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!

 

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