Page 1

COMMUNIQUÉ Publication for Members of Central OEA/NEA

Spring 2013

Scott DiMauro, President

The Governor’s Budget - Here We Go Again In late January, Gov. John Kasich held an inviteonly event to roll out his biennium budget education funding plan. Those present, select superintendents and charter school operators, were enthusiastic by what they heard from John Kasich:

Absent from the Governor’s funding plan rollout were any district-level details that would show just how much more poor school districts would get, and how much less their wealthier brethren would receive. Those details came a week later and caused a statewide uproar.

there. Of those districts that the Governor was going to bless with modest funding increases, few would be considered poor by most people’s definitions. Indeed, even the Governor’s own education advisors struggled to explain their rationale.

“This is not hard. If you’re poor, you’re going to get more. If you’re rich, you’re going to get less.”

The vast majority of school districts would receive 0% funding increases. This after the draconian $1.8 billion cut in the previous budget that has caused tremendous student hardships, program and service cuts, and job losses. On top of the cuts also came a cumulative $1.1 billion in local levy requests to make up for the loss of state funding. The controversy didn’t end

Kasich education policy advisor Barbara Mattei-Smith said that “school districts that many people think of as ‘poor’ are not actually poor for the purposes of determining state funding under the Kasich plan.” And according to Dick Ross, the governor’s Director of 21st Century Education, “while the funding estimates may surprise some, they represent ‘reality.’ Maybe the perception needs to be recognized as not being what’s real.”

For those who have had to endure massive school funding cuts from the Governor’s previous budget, built on top of an unconstitutional funding system, this promise sounded too good to be true. And indeed it was.

To date, no one has been able to replicate the formula the Governor’s education team used to generate their school funding numbers. Furthermore, according to the Governor, a lot of the districts receiving 0% increases are only held at that level because they received a guarantee that he claims is “unsustainable” and “unfair” and will be eliminated in the next biennial budget. This would amount to a promise of a further $880 million cut two years from now. The Governor’s budget (HB59) also contains a number of other education provisions, including a significant expansion of vouchers. Current voucher programs, such as the EdChoice Scholarship, had their eligibility limited to areas with underperforming schools. The previous budget (HB153) expanded these voucher programs from 15,000 to 60,000 vouchers, despite little demand for the increase. (Only about 800 more vouchers were requested from eligible families.) continued on page 2

continued from page 1 The new budget removes the provision of vouchers being limited to students from poorly rated schools, and instead allows anyone from anywhere in the state to apply for a voucher to a private school, provided their family income is within 200% of the federal poverty level - approximately $46,000 for a family of 4. In the first year of this newly expanded program, it would be open to kindergarten students. First-graders would be added the subsequent year, with the expectation of further expansion as time goes on.


Charter schools also receive a boost from the Governor’s plan. First, they are in line to receive $100 per student for facilities improvement, which could total more than $13 million. They further benefit from the funding formula the Governor has devised, and as Stephen Dyer, Education Fellow at Innovation Ohio, notes “While School Districts are being notably held down on their funding in Kasich’s plan, Charter schools will be the only schools in the state that will receive full state funding.”

According to preliminary analysis of the blue book by OEA’s Governmental Services, here’s a brief synopsis of other education-related items in the budget:

• Calls for the State Board of Education to review and revise the operating standards to eliminate additional requirements outside of safety and core curriculum.

• Creates a new program, appropriating $300 million over the biennium, to provide one-time grants to districts to “increase their operational efficiency.” The “Straight ‘A’ Fund” would be allocated to fund projects (not ongoing programs) aimed at reducing costs. This program is funded through lottery profits.

• Allows school districts to base school calendars on a minimum number of hours rather than days.

• Does not provide direct funding for the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. • Will require “salary schedules without defining structures.” OEA is concerned about this provision and will need actual language to determine its meaning. • Holds the current (FY 2013) reimbursements for revenue due to the elimination of the Tangible Personal Property Tax and other changes to tax law.

• Eliminates the minimum staffing requirement for speech pathologists and school psychologists. • Allocates a $100 million fund to help districts pay costs for students with the most severe disabilities. • Additional resources are proposed for districts with large populations of disadvantaged students but limited access to early childhood education programs. The budget affects higher education as well. The governor’s proposal implements a new state funding formula for the State Share of Instruction, which prioritizes degree completion. Fifty percent of the funding available for universities within the SSI will be awarded according to the number of students who complete a degree.

The proposal also shifts a system of funding based on enrolled students to a system that funds completion of classes, degrees and success points. The enrollment-based factor will be entirely eliminated in FY 2015. Finally, the budget creates a 2% tuition cap. The cap is the greater of the 2% that the individual institution charged in the prior year or the statewide average cost based on the college sector. House Bill 59 will receive hearings in the House before it is amended and sent to the Senate later this spring. Following Senate action, any differences between the House- and Senate-passed versions of the budget will need to be resolved in a conference committee, likely to be held in June. The final budget bill must be approved by June 30 and goes into effect on July 1, 2013. Follow the OEA website and Join the Future for updates, and be sure to communicate with your elected legislators to make sure the voices of educators and students are heard throughout the budget process.

COMMUNIQUÉ Volume 41, Number 3

Spring 2013

Published four times a year as a service of

CENTRAL OEA/NEA, INC. 947 Goodale Blvd. Columbus, OH 43212

Scott DiMauro, President Adrienne Bowden, Vice President Kevin Griffin, Executive Board Liaison Russell Hughlock, Coordinator of Communications and Organizing

Editors Fiscal Manager Production Photography Design

Ann Eblin, Judy Furnas & Carla Noll Mark Meuser Russell Hughlock Mary Jo Armstrong Pam McClung

Voice Fax E-mail

614-222-8228 614-222-8218

The vast majority of school districts would receive 0% funding increases.

Spring 2013

Educator Lobby Days. Make Your Voices Heard.

In Case You Missed It

OEA Members and Ohio’s students face critical challenges this General Assembly. Now more than ever, you must make sure your voice is heard! Educator Lobby Days provide an opportunity to meet with state legislators to discuss key education issues.

We were thrilled in February, notified us that they were going to include Join the Future in their Teach100 list of most influential education news sites and blogs.

Join your colleagues at the OEA Headquarters’ Media Center, located at 225 E. Broad St. in Columbus, Ohio, at 9 a.m. for an hour-long briefing on any of the following days

Wednesday, March 20 Tuesday, April 16 Tuesday, April 30 Tuesday, May 14 Tuesday, June 11


For further information, please email Julie Parsley at or contact OEA Government Relationsm at 1-800-282-1500 ext. 3170. Central OEA/NEA’s Political Action Coordinators will make the necessary arrangements and appointments with your legislators. Central will reimburse your parking and lunch expenses up to $20.

By checking out and sharing Join the Future, you can help us climb the ranks! Here are some of the articles you might have missed: Governor’s school funding bamboozle HB555 FAQ for teacher evaluations Teaching as team sport

Visit Central’s website to register for a lobby day now.

Central Ohio Labor Relations Consultant Realignment Effective March 1, 2013, OEA has implemented a significant realignment of staff positions and service council assignments. These changes reflect a reduction in overall staffing levels due to a decline in membership numbers, which are a direct result of budget cuts to local school districts. Here in Central Ohio, a majority of members are now being served by Labor Relations Consultants who previously represented other areas. To find the name and contact information of your OEA Labor Relations Consultant if you are in need of assistance, contact your local president or go to: Smith Shelby Maier realignment.

Spring 2013

On The Subject of Value Add


With the passage of several legislative bills over the last two years, the corporate education reform movement is now in full swing in Ohio. Business-minded individuals have been pushing for more accountability with the use of student data for years and now politicians from both parties are buying into the corporate driven “solutions.” One of the common themes across the corporate reform movement is the use of student testing data in teacher evaluations with a heavy emphasis on Value-Added Measures (VAM) in an attempt to show how much value a teacher brings to the classroom. The theory behind the math of VAM is that students take a test at the beginning of the year and then again at the end of the year. A complex formula (which is being kept a secret in Ohio) is then used to determine what a student’s score should be at the end of the year. These numbers

can then be used to evaluate teachers. The Ohio Legislature recently passed House Bill 555, which is more commonly known for changing the school report card. However, at the last hour, with no public hearings or testimony, an amendment was added which changed the percentage of VAM used in teacher evaluations. The House, Senate, and Governor made this major change, going against recommendations from OEA, the Ohio Department of Education, and Battelle for Kids. The amendment now requires that the percentage of VAM being used in teacher’s evaluation is in direct proportion to the amount of Value-Added subjects/ courses they teach. In many cases, 50% of a teacher’s evaluation will be based on one test; and as common core is implemented, more teachers will be evaluated in this manner.

VAM has serious limitations in determining teacher effectiveness Teachers can be ranked in the top quartile one year and sink to the middle or even the bottom the next, independent of any changes they made in their own instructional practice. A paper written for the Carnegie Knowledge Network1 examining this issue cited a study that found that half of the teachers in the top fifth of performance remained there the following year while 20% of them fell to the lowest two quintiles. This defies reason – how could one fifth of teachers be identified as top performers in one year but among the worst in the next? There are many reasons for this: VAM doesn’t account for school effect, students don’t grow at the linear pace assumed by the models, students aren’t

randomly assigned, and VAM seems to be worse for teachers of students who have limited English proficiency. According to a RAND corporation study2, VAM scores varied depending on what test was used.

Many Researchers Caution Against Use of VAM in Teacher Evaluations as a Sole Measure The Brookings Institute supports use of VAM but cautions3 that the error ranges in measurement are so wide that one can’t make precise differentiation between levels of teacher effectiveness. The RAND study mentioned above also made a similar recommendation. Jesse Rothstein of UC Berkeley found that nonrandom assignment of students caused the model to demonstrate a teachercaused student growth

Spring 2013

in the year prior to having them as students. A synthesis of available research conducted by Marzano4 found that teachers account for only about 13 percent of the variance in student achievement. Student variables (including home environment, student motivation, and prior knowledge) account for 80 percent of the variance in student achievement. VAM does not necessarily isolate the teacher’s contribution to student achievement growth.

HB 555 Magnifies the Problematic Nature of Overreliance on VAM to Evaluate Teachers


HB 156 and SB 316 set forth the framework for the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) in requiring that student achievement growth accounts for 50% of a teacher’s evaluation. The law mandated that VAM, when available, must be part of the student growth calculation but did not specify to what degree. The Ohio Department of Education, in creating the OTES framework, mandated that student growth be calculated using multiple measures and that VAM, when available, must account for at least 10% of the whole evaluation. Presumably ODE constructed the model in this way in recognition of the limitations of VAM as a primary determinant of teacher effectiveness.

Because of the overvaluing of student growth in the OTES teacher-rating matrix, HB 555 magnifies the random errors in VAM due to selection bias, nonschool factors, the effect from other teachers and the school itself, which are out of the teacher’s control. When VAM is fully 50% of a teacher’s evaluation and is overvalued so that it essentially trumps any teacher rating from subjective observations, the inevitable errors that occur will cause teachers to be unfairly rated in the lowest two categories, putting them at risk for dismissal or being first in line to be laid off through reduction in force. Simply put, we don’t believe that teachers should have an element of randomness determine career risk.

Using VAM to DeSelect Teachers May Have Adverse School and Labor Market Effects If teachers believe that their VAM score can cause them to lose their jobs, they will be much more likely to hoard information and teaching methods from their colleagues. They will also resist assignment of difficult students to their class, believing that the very students who need the most help may cause them to suffer adverse career consequences.

If teachers are being asked to assume a greater amount of career risk without a commensurate rise in pay, it is doubtful that there will be a willing pool of candidates waiting to fill positions of deselected teachers. This is especially problematic in the mathematics field, where there are already shortages of willing and qualified candidates. This situation will likely be exacerbated if teachers believe that the evaluation system is inherently unfair. There will likely be an adverse effect on students as well. Schools and teachers will choose to narrow the curriculum and in-class instruction to only that which will be tested. Such narrowing of the curriculum will strip away the enjoyable aspects of school from students’ lives.

is a prominent part of the teacher evaluation but not a primary determinant of quality and leaving sufficient margin of error. Several states have a student growth component that is lower than 50% - DC’s impact system (the prototypical model for OTES) has recently been revised to de-escalate the role of VAM in response to the concerns about its accuracy. Teacher resistance to VAM is not monolithic – it’s much less likely they will resist OTES if VAM were a much lower component than the current mandated level. Furthermore, there is evidence that multiple observations and VAM can work in concert to successfully identify top performers as well as laggards.

Alternatives to the Current System This is not to say that there is no place for VAM in a comprehensive teacher evaluation system. There are alternatives to the current system in which VAM

[1] [2] [3] [4]

Spring 2013

Scholarships Available for OEA Summer Academy The OEA Summer Academy is being held on August 5-7, 2013 at the Hilton Columbus Downtown. Central OEA/NEA is providing scholarships that will cover the $100 conference registration fee and lodging for Monday and Tuesday nights (August 5 & 6). To apply for a scholarship to fund your registration fee and hotel accommodations for Monday and Tuesday nights, log on to the Central Web site at and click on the link under the article on the home page titled “Scholarships Available for OEA Summer Academy.” Scholarships are limited. If you are interested in receiving one, be sure to apply no later than April 30 2013. Registration for the Conference and hotel reservations is through OEA directly.

Traveling a path to social justice starts with one step


As the first annual National Education Association’s Dialogue on Social Justice came to a close last month, my mind swirled with the ideas discussed and the work that needed to occur -- Where does one begin? What is my role? How can I make a difference? Fifty-some local, state and national association leaders, selected through an application process, came together at the NEA headquarters in Washington, D.C., for three days in early December 2012 to address social justice issues facing ethnic minority and LGBT (lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual, transgender) NEA members and students. Research shows that by 2050, minority populations will make up the majority in the United States. To meet these growing needs we focused on topics such as cultural competency (the ability to teach students from cultures different from one’s own), diversity, racial

profiling, immigration, and language and culture preservation. We delved into both the challenges and the opportunities NEA is sure to face as it moves forward. For example, five provocateurs representing various cultural backgrounds and experiences (both personal and professional) joined us on the afternoon of the first day, answering questions pertaining to issues of equity, diversity, opportunity, access, school funding, lobbying and social oppression.

organization Students for an Equal Society. It also underscored the significance of the things that we often take for granted or gloss over, such as classroom environment. What’s hanging on our walls, the books we read, the sources we quote -- all have an important and sometimes unrecognized impact on students.

The specialists were blatantly honest as they shared about issues, concerns and inequities facing Native American Tribal Schools, immigrant students’ rights, minority adolescent male literacy, LGBT and ethnic minority rights (or lack thereof), and poverty.

The information shared, topics discussed and work completed during the course of a day and a half led us to our final activity: creating a two-minute public service announcement focused on social justice. Poetry, songs, chants, skits, humor and serious dialogue filled the room as members of each group shared their portrayal of the meaning and importance of social justice.

The exercise reminded me of the importance of some of the work that is going on here in our own district, such as support for our

So now I ask myself, “How do I incorporate nearly 25 years of teaching from a social justice perspective, my former role as the Bexley

City Schools’ international/ multicultural education coordinator, my current position as a middle school humanities teacher and my fifth year as Bexley Education Association president to move forward and advance efforts to address social justice issues?” I will heed the advice of the Chinese philosopher, Lao-tzu, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Mindy Hall serves as Bexley Education Association president and is a Bexley Middle School humanities teacher.

Mindy Hall

Spring 2013

Central Representative Assembly. April 27, 2013 Central OEA/NEA’s annual Representative Assembly (RA) will be held at Worthington Kilbourne High School, 1499 Hard Rd. Columbus. All local delegates elected to the OEA Representative Assembly are delegates to the Central RA. Registration will begin at 8:00 a.m. The agenda will include electing three representatives to the OEA Board of Directors, and four Central Area Representatives. Also on the agenda will be the adoption of the 2013-14 budget, a collection for the OEA Fund for Children and Public Education, and debate on any business items presented by the delegates.

Positions up for election with terms of office beginning Sept. 1, 2013 and ending Aug. 31, 2016 unless otherwise stated: OEA Board of Directors Unit 2 * OEA Board of Directors Unit 3 OEA Board of Directors Unit 6 Area 1 Representative Area 2 Representative Area 3 Representative Area 5 Representative

*To complete an unexpired term ending Aug. 31, 2014

Growth and Development Grant Applications Are Due by April 15, 2013.

March into an Informed Retirement The Central Retired Advisory Committee hosted “March Into An Informed Retirement” on Monday, February 25th at Central OEA/NEA headquarters. The event was attended by retirees and those anticipating retirement within the next few years. The intent of the Committee was to give members an overview of current issues related to their retirement benefits and their COLA, to inform them of current legislation being pushed forward by this Administration, and to urge them to retain their membership in OEA and NEA upon retirement. Speakers for the evening included Tamla Cole and Rebecca Frasher from STRS, Cameron Vaughan from SERS, Mary Suchy from OEA Membership, Guy Kendall-Freas from NEA Member Benefits, and Jack Zweig and Mark Meuser speaking about Long-Term Care. Each of the presentations, though relatively brief, was highly informative, and afforded members the opportunity to ask general questions. Attendance at the event exceeded our expectations, and attendees were very appreciative of the information. A stay-to-the-end drawing was conducted allowing most to go home with an extra surprise. Following a more in-depth analysis of the evaluations, we hope to offer more events that will keep our members informed. Pictured above, L to R: Sue Otten, Maureen Looker, Vivian Brown, Stephanie Pentiuk, Sue Christian, Larry Pentiuk, Kay Helm, Mark Meuser

The Growth and Development Grants are designed to help improve a local’s effectiveness, and this application deadline is needed for locals planning activities between August and November of 2013. Grant amounts are from $2,000 (for locals with 100 or fewer members) to $5,000 (for locals with more than 800 members) and are awarded for a one-year period. Priority is given to first-time applicants, but previous grant recipients are also encouraged to apply. Stipulations may apply—for example, conducting a FCPE drive. For the 2012 – 2013 school year, 33 locals received Growth and Development Grants ranging from $400 to $4,400. Grant awards will be made following the June Board meeting. More details and the application are on the Central Website If you have questions, contact Andre Prenoveau, Central OEA/NEA Project Manager pm@

Become an Intergenerational Mentor Retirees, are you interested in working with an OSU student in education? Contact Vivian Brown, vbrown38@ for information about the Intergenerational Mentoring Program.



O E A/N E A, Inc.


947 Goodale Boulevard Columbus, OH 43212



In this issue 3

Educator Lobby Days. Make Your Voice Heard.

3 In Case You Missed It 4-5 On the Subject of Value Add 6

Scholarships Available for OEA Summer Academy


Traveling a path to social justice starts with one step


Central Representative Assembly

7 Growth and Development Grant Applications 7

Become an Intergenerational Mentor


March into an Informed Retirement

Labor Relations Consultant Realignment


Apr. 15 5:30 - 8 p.m.

Area 3 at Robert’s on Miami, Urbana

Apr. 17 6 - 8 p.m.

Area 5 at OSU Golf Course, Columbus

Apr. 23 6 - 8 p.m.

Area 4 at J.R. Hook’s, Circleville

Apr. 25 6 - 8 p.m.

Area 2 at Tavern 42, Delaware

Apr. 30 6 - 8 p.m.

Area 1 at the Granville Inn

Apr 27 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Central Representative Assembly at Worthington Kilbourne High School May 10 - 11

OEA Representative Assembly at Veterans Memorial, Columbus

July 29 - 30

Central OEA/NEA Summer Conference at Mohican Lodge

March into an Informed Retirement

On the Subject of Value Add



Become an Intergenerational Mentor


Spring 2013 Communique  
Spring 2013 Communique  

The Central OEA/NEA Spring 2013 COmmunique