Ohio is building comprehensive evaluation and compensation plans that aim to identify and well-compensate great teachers based on multiple measures of their student achievement and their individual practice.  Ours is not a bonus plan.”  This is how the Ohio Department of Education explains the difference between the recently released study of the failed teacher merit pay system in New York and the one they are helping Governor Kasich create from scratch.

Except it’s not the Ohio Department of Education, it’s the Governor’s office pretending to be the Ohio Department of Education by using their website.

Quick update: Senate Bill 5 was signed by Governor Kasich containing teacher merit-pay requirements (then later forgets); Kasich then introduces budget bill that includes teacher merit-pay; budget bill passes General Assembly; Kasich signs it into law (June 30).

Meanwhile, in April, after signing the Teach for America bill (“a landmark day for Ohio education“), Kasich decided to ask for teachers to contact his office with feedback:

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.  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.

Then, in May, two months after proposing the aforementioned budget including teacher merit-pay (with specific details, no less), Governor Kasich apparently determines that his budget proposal was off target and he tweets a request for input (because so many public school teachers are following him on Twitter).

At the link, you’ll find the following: “Have an idea? Share it with Governor Kasich by visiting http://governor.ohio.gov/Teachers”  In the picture, that’s Governor Kasich on the left, sitting next to school reform “expert” Michelle Rhee.

More recently, on July 13, the Columbus Dispatch reported on a meeting at Ashland University where the Governor dropped in.

It took a 30-minute meeting with a handful of teachers from across the state yesterday for Gov. John Kasich to decide who should construct a merit-pay system for Ohio schools. And it’s not him. ”I’ve become convinced that when it comes to actually designing this program, the governor ought to stay out of it,” Kasich said after the meeting at Ashland University. “I’d be the most comfortable if the teachers themselves could put together what they think is a fair process.”

QUOTE:  ”The governor ought to stay out of it.”

He received more than 1,200 responses, and his administration quietly constructed a steering committee of more than a dozen teachers from across Ohio to help gather information.  Additionally, the administration has held seven regional meetings with groups of teachers who responded to Kasich’s request.

Seven regional meetings?  A steering committee?  How did we miss that?  How did every media outlet in the State miss that?

Simple, it’s because Kasich is not staying out of it and the administration simply recruited teachers they knew from the list of Teachers for Kasich members (TfK quote: “Just got another piece of OEA hate mail that unfairly bashes John Kasich. I don’t appreciate the union spending my dues money in this way.“).  This process clearly continues the administration’s preferred practice of cronyism and confirms the skepticism expressed over his call for input. By using this practice, Kasich can ensure that his teacher merit-pay proposals, despite his feigned ignorance and hands-off approach, will be implemented exactly as he drew them up.

Fortunately, the Ohio’s Open Meetings Laws apply to this committee, so we should be able to hold them accountable and find out precisely what these groups of teachers are saying about merit-pay:

The Ohio Open Meetings Act requires public bodies in Ohio to conduct all official business in open meetings that the public may attend and observe. Public bodies must provide advance notice to the public indicating when and where each meeting will take place, and in the case of special meetings, the specific topics that will be discussed. Full and accurate minutes of the meetings must be taken and made available to the public, except in the case of permissible closed-door sessions.

The Ohio Open Meetings Act defines a “public body” as:
a. Any board, commission, committee, council, or similar decision-making body of a state agency, institution, or authority, and any legislative authority or board, commission, committee, council, agency, authority, or similar decision-making body of any county, township, municipal corporation, school district, or other political subdivision or local public institution;

Now, where to find those minutes….Governor, a little help, please?

Glad to know you’re so involved!  So, we’ll just go to teachers.ohio.gov and find the meeting schedule and minutes . . .

Umm, Governor, that link redirected us to a hidden Ohio Department of Education webpage about teacher evaluations.  Did you give us the wrong link?

Thank you, Governor Kasich’s Communication Department, but that is only the same Twitter account that is on the hidden Ohio Department of Education webpage.  In fact, that’s the only direct form of contact on that page, and I’ve received no response when I tweeted a question about the meeting schedule.  Wait a minute, the first meeting happened back on June 22?  Where was THAT date published?  Or June 24, or July 11, or July 12?  There are only 5 meetings described on the page, yet the Dispatch article reports seven have occurred, so when and where were the other two?

Even when you directly connect to the Governor’s Teacher Evaluation homepage, you’d better save the link.  That hidden page is not connected to any of the series of complex menus, nor can you find it by doing the logical step of entering “Teacher Evaluation Home Page” in the search box.  Comically, that search will take you to the Ohio Department of Education’s current Ohio Teacher Evaluation System which has been in development since 2009 by the Ohio Educator Standards Board.  This thoroughly-researched model was presented to the State Board of Education just last week.  Awkward . . .

Don’t waste your time on the page, though, you won’t find anything of real substance.

You will find:

  • A video featuring teachers promoting the IMPACT program in Washington D.C.
  • A link to a Twitter account (if you don’t tweet, you’re out of luck)
  • A link to a feedback page on the Governor’s website
  • Multiple links to education reform experts Bill and Melinda Gates

You won’t find anything required by the Open Meetings Act:

  • A schedule of the meetings that have been held
  • A schedule of upcoming meetings
  • Names of the steering committee members
  • Detailed meeting minutes
  • Names of meeting facilitators
  • Names of meeting participants
  • An explanation of who is behind the final decisions (all signs lead back to Kasich)

How disappointing.  Just when we think the Governor has seen the light and wants to involve outsiders in the process, he secretly appoints like-thinking members of his campaign to a secret steering committee that conducts secret meetings with invitation-only participants, and blatantly disregards Ohio’s Open Meetings Laws that are intended to “foster the spirit of open government.”

To provide feedback about the Governor’s feigned interest in teacher merit pay, please call the Performance-based Evaluation Office at 614-644-6777.  This will connect you directly to the office coordinating this project.  We can’t seem to get copies of the meeting schedule or minutes, but maybe you’ll have better luck.



 

Evangelize!
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  • Real Get Real

    Yet another page from the “Totalitarian Government Leader’s Bible”.  China does this all the time appointing “Catholic” bishops while the true leaders are ignored or persecuted.  That way China can say “See, we support freedom of religion”.

    Of course, for all the anti-OEA spew from the Republicans, the fact is the union leaders are ELECTED by the teachers – these puppet teachers on Kasich’s committees are not.    Somehow, democracy and freedom to assemble are missed by Kasich.  But guess that is what happens when 51% of the public votes against you.

  • Anonymous

    Do we even know who all is on the committee? Is there a way we can get the paper trail to find out how they were selected?

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    They are doing this in other agencies as well. Getting folks in the Human Resource offices to write up a plan for Merit Raises.
    I saw some meeting minutes  ( for my agency) where they told management it was a little soon for this and the answer was “When Sb5 is defeated we need to be ready to do this” so instead they want this ( now ) in every piece of legislation they can stick it in.
    All Ohioans need to start reading legislation as they have no idea whats in these bills until they are passed and it hits the news.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carrie-Preston/100000765994211 Carrie Preston

    So I’m going to start putting money back for a long period of no work because when this stupid merit pay comes out and it is based on the abilities of the stud
    ents to improve aka standardized tests which we know is not fair to some minorities for multiple reasons. When they base merit pay where those in the suburbs are able to achieve it  because of social and economical situations and those who work in the areas where there is high poverty rates which contribute to multiple  social and economical reasons that students do poorly in school, reasons that go beyond the teachers control cannot achieve it , when they have not found a fair way to have merit pay for early elementary and specials teachers like music-art-phys ed, and teachers that teach the handicapped,I will be able to afford the strike I will be willing to participate in. That is after we vote down SB5.

  • OhioTeacherTales

    These seven meetings were about school funding and getting more $$ into the classroom (note: not more teachers and better individualized attention, but $$ into the resources). They were limiting audiences to 15 teachers or so, but the meeting was only to last one hour. It was not to go over thst time because principals were the next group to talk for an hour and their meeting was scheduled immediately after the teacher meeting.

    After Mattei-Smith would have finished outlining the procedure for the meeting and her initial spiel, that would give each teacher about 2 minutes to share.

    At one of the meetings it was asked if they would use any of the non-partisan study that was recently completed. I believe it was an exhaustive two-year study. The Gov’s office would not commit to it.

    This is all for show. And… Short term. Because in 2014 the next governor will throw all his idiocy out and we’ll have been set back years and will have to spend more money to get back to where we were.

    On a positive note, maybe I can start my own un-regulated charter school with no accountability so I can become wealthy enough to threaten leaving the state with my charter school so I won’t have to pay taxes anymore….

  • Hungry Coyote

    Impeachment? Can we do that?

  • Anonymous

    Since a majority of Ohio’s public school teachers are women, and we know that Kasich has excluded women and minorities from his cabinet, does anyone else feel that Kasich’s attempts to control teacher pay/benefits/survival is his way of “putting women in their place.”  I’m just asking. I know the other day, Plunderbund wrote about how the new Ohio restrictions on abortions infringed on women’s rights.  Is this just another way for the other side to control the ability of women to succeed in their profession and earn a decent wage?  As a woman, I find Kasich’s public behavior, comments, and agenda insulting and disgusting.  Can you imagine what he says in private?

  • Anonymous

    Since a majority of Ohio’s public school teachers are women, and we know that Kasich has excluded women and minorities from his cabinet, does anyone else feel that Kasich’s attempts to control teacher pay/benefits/survival is his way of “putting women in their place.”  I’m just asking. I know the other day, Plunderbund wrote about how the new Ohio restrictions on abortions infringed on women’s rights.  Is this just another way for the other side to control the ability of women to succeed in their profession and earn a decent wage?  As a woman, I find Kasich’s public behavior, comments, and agenda insulting and disgusting.  Can you imagine what he says in private?

  • Ann V.

    Quote: “it’s not the Ohio Department of Education, it’s the Governor’s office pretending to be the Ohio Department of Education”

    That’s worrisome. How do you determine this?

  • Guest

    Didn’t I read that it was against the law to put the same pieces of legislation in different bills? Isn’t that what we have with the budget and anything else they come up with since it is already in sb5?

  • Anonymous

    Ann,

    I’ll go with a simple exercise for this.
    1. Go to the website they provide: http://teachers.ohio.gov
    2. Click on the Share Your Ideas link on the left.  Where does your feedback go?  ODE or Governor Kasich?

    Also, Kasich’s statements, including the repeated tweets from his office, help to reinforce the idea that he is clearly running the show and the teachers he pulled in are merely puppets for him to be able to claim he included teachers in the process (never claimed he’d follow their advice).  Yet the website is clearly using the ODE template while being completely unconnected to any other ODE page.

    It’s offensive.  And I surely hope that no one at ODE lost their job as a result of Kasich’s use of ODE money to pay for the work being done by his appointees.

  • Anonymous

    Ann,

    I’ll go with a simple exercise for this.
    1. Go to the website they provide: http://teachers.ohio.gov
    2. Click on the Share Your Ideas link on the left.  Where does your feedback go?  ODE or Governor Kasich?

    Also, Kasich’s statements, including the repeated tweets from his office, help to reinforce the idea that he is clearly running the show and the teachers he pulled in are merely puppets for him to be able to claim he included teachers in the process (never claimed he’d follow their advice).  Yet the website is clearly using the ODE template while being completely unconnected to any other ODE page.

    It’s offensive.  And I surely hope that no one at ODE lost their job as a result of Kasich’s use of ODE money to pay for the work being done by his appointees.

  • Random Thoughts

    I clicked on the link and it surely did look just like the ODE website.

    My “WTF” thought is, the main headline/video is “DC Teachers speak out on teacher evaluations”.

    That is laughable, at best, downright scary at worst. Why is he taking evaluation advice from teachers in the WORST school district in the country? Especially when Ohio is consistently ranked among the BEST in the US?

    This man’s audacity knows no end. 2014 can’t come soon enough.

  • luv2teach

    Couldn’t the results of the meetings be invalid because they violated so many laws? 

  • luv2teach

    Also, I went to Kasuck’s ODE look-alike page and put the name of the page into the search field thinking that if it was a legitimate ODE page it would show up as a choice somewhere on ODE’s website. The look-alike page did not show up as one of the choices. Not sure if this is logical or make any sense to anyone. Was also thinking… if can ANYONE link a page to another website?

  • Anonymous

    I apologize for my error in the original post.  When I referenced Mattei, that was erroneous and was connected to Funding meetings, not merit-pay, as you pointed out.

    I removed that paragraph.

    However, the remainder of the post IS about the Governor’s merit-pay meetings and they are hiding the process.  Please take a look at the post again with that context in mind.  Thanks for the feedback.

  • Anonymous

    luv2teach – Kasich’s teacher liaison is working out of ODE.  Call ODE and ask for the office.  ODE is funding the work, while Kasich is running the project.

  • luv2teach

    Thanks for double-checking, Greg. 

  • Progessive Willy

    I just went to the ‘ODE page’ and shared my thoughts on performance-based pay.  One of my points stated when politicians are paid based on their approval ratings, I’ll consider merit-based pay for teachers.  

    I also added how unethical I thought it was that a page made to look like an ODE page was actually linked to the Governor’s office.  Shady, John, verrrrrry shady.

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    I believe they are putting “merit raise ” language in by selecting different state jobs as reference for the merit raises. Just like HB 69 and SB 3 are the same things with a few different spins. SB5 has been cut up in blocks and inserted several different places. Our question has been when SB5 gets repealed in Nov. what happens to the legislation already passed.
    an example of how they are doing this — Hb153 the so called budget bill has references to “merit” in it 4 different times– the word “performance” has reference 142 times
    of course these are in all sections of the bill according to what dept you want to look at. All state agencies are in there and the changes to be made but you have to be diligent and read.

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