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Ohio Governor Asks for Teacher Input
posted by: Alix | April 28, 2011, 04:14 PM   

Ohio has been one of the most talked about states in the nation as Governor John Kasich and the Ohio legislature worked together to pass Senate Bill 5, a move that would end forced unionism, close budget shortfalls and curb union power. While the union has already begun a referendum campaign to maintain their stronghold on teacher paychecks, the governor is not backing down and is now working together with teachers to establish criteria for the performance pay portion of the law.

Shortly after Senate Bill 5 became law, Governor Kasich and his team maintained that they wanted teacher input in establishing a performance pay system that would ultimately account for 50% of an overall evaluation. Yesterday, after signing a bill that will welcome a new crop of educators to the state through the Teach for America program, Governor Kasich elaborated on his plan by asking Ohio's 115,000 public-school teachers to submit input to his staff.

He asked for teachers to suggest how to judge their performance in the classroom. "There are teachers in the state who are concerned about the criteria," Kasich said. "I want to make sure that teachers across the state know that if they want to participate in establishing this criteria, we want to invite them to be a part of this process."

Governor Kasich told interested teachers, "They can contact the governor's office. They can start there, and send an email. ... I look forward to it. And even if there are several hundred that want to participate, we'll sit them down and walk them through this."

Senate Bill 5 requires the state superintendent to submit a framework for judging teacher's performance based at least 50% on student test scores and academic growth. The framework is said to also include the quality of instruction, teachers' communication and professionalism, and parental satisfaction. The guidelines are due by April, 2012.

Interestingly, the proposed 50% benchmark of the Ohio plan is consistent with what we have found in our overall AAE member surveys. Teachers are willing to be held accountable if the system is fair and takes into account factors they cannot control. Eighty percent of AAE teachers in our annual member survey support a value-added assessment when student test scores are used as part of teacher evaluation. Student test scores ranked higher in evaluating teacher effectiveness, second only to administrative/ faculty review.

"I'm happy that he wants teacher input," said Mr. George Edge, a teacher at Grove City High School and Ohio's Teacher of the Year in 2007. "I think there needs to be a nucleus of quality educators to help set the criteria for how a teacher's pay relates to performance."

Understandably teachers can be wary of how they will be evaluated and compensated. And, of course, any change is hard. If teachers have input into creating a fair and equitable system, we'll see results that can work for all educators.

AAE plans on surveying our Ohio members in the coming days regarding Senate Bill 5 and performance pay. We look forward to your insights. In the meantime, if you are teacher in Ohio and wish to contact Governor Kasich's office with your thoughts, click here.

Do you think Governor Kasich is on the right track in asking for educator input?

Comment below.

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