The Ohio House of Representatives was all out of sorts over the past week at the notion of increasing the number of calamity days for school districts across the state.  What was initially thought to be a simple piece of legislation that would be fast-tracked when it was proposed the day after Governor Kasich called for it turned out to hit a wall with many House Republicans.  The initial delay of its adoption by the House was the question of cost, specifically whether it was a waste of millions of dollars to pay “teachers for days they didn’t work” (Gerald Stebelton, House Education Committee Chair).

Interestingly enough, Republicans in the Ohio General Assembly haven’t had much problem with this notion in recent years as they have passed legislation requiring more and more standardized testing in Ohio’s schools.

Next year, we’ll be implementing a new Kindergarten Readiness Assessment for every child in Kindergarten, delivered one-on-one, and completed before November.  How many days of instruction will these Kindergarten teachers lose in order to conduct these assessments?  2? 3?  With  the window open through November 1, the state seems to imply that it should take a considerable amount of time — and shouldn’t it in order to be done correctly?

On top of that, Ohio’s new Third Grade Reading Guarantee law requires that each child in Kindergarten, first, second, and third grade be administered a standardized diagnostic reading test to assess their reading level.  These tests must be administered to all students before September 30.

On top of THAT, schools must administer a mathematics diagnostic assessment to all students in grades one and two, and a writing diagnostic assessment to all students in grades one, two, and three at least once during the school year.

Let’s start keeping a tally of the days of instruction lost since we’re only getting started.

  • Kindergarten teachers are losing: 2 days for Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (conservatively), 1 day for reading diagnostic (optimistically)
  • Grade 1 teachers: 1 day for reading diagnostic, 1 day for math diagnostic, 1 day for writing diagnostic (again, optimistically)
  • Grade 2 teachers: 1 day for reading diagnostic, 1 day for math diagnostic, 1 day for writing diagnostic

At Grade 3, we add in the Ohio Achievement Assessments (OAA), so their loss of instructional days changes:

  • 1 day for reading diagnostic, 1 day for writing diagnostic, half day for October Reading OAA, half day for April Math OAA, half day for April Reading OAA [note that the half-day only applies to "traditional" students and many students receive special accommodations which provides for extended testing time which is typically a full day; we're strictly calculating minimum days]

At Grade 4 and above, the numbers of days lost to state-mandated tests are as follows:

  • Grade 4 teachers; half day for Math OAA & half day for Reading OAA
  • Grade 5 teachers; half day for Math OAA, half day for Reading OAA, half day for Science OAA
  • Grade 6 teachers; half day for Math OAA & half day for Reading OAA
  • Grade 7 teachers; half day for Math OAA & half day for Reading OAA
  • Grade 8 teachers; half day for Math OAA, half day for Reading OAA, half day for Science OAA

At high school, the entire school schedule is typically disrupted during the traditional March OGT administration for all 10th grade students, so every high school teacher typically loses 5 half days of instructional time (5 tests, 5 days) as they are put to work being test monitors/proctors.

Also at the high school level, since many students aren’t successful on their first attempt, the test administration windows in subsequent years disrupt the instructional time for 11th and 12th grade teachers — a number that varies widely among school districts, but is real nonetheless.

Now lets look at an estimate of the collective days of instruction lost based on numbers from the Ohio Department of Education.  According to the ODE, the student:teacher ratio is just under 20, so we’ll generously round up for ease of calculation and to keep our numbers on the conservative side.  Based on that number, here are the estimated number of teachers for the grades directly affected by the standardized testing phenomenon:

teachers-students

When we add in the column for days lost of instruction for each teacher, here’s what it looks like:

losttotesting

In the end, using conservative estimates, teachers and students are losing at least 184,555 total days of instructional time to the process of standardized testing.  What’s the cost of that, both in REAL dollars and the cost to our students?

If we use the numbers bandied about by House Republicans, the average Ohio teacher’s salary in 2013 was $56,307.  Divide that by the 182 day school year (as the GOP members did) and we get roughly $309/day.  At $309/day, with 184,555 days lost to legislatively mandated tests, Ohio law mandates that we spend over $57 million each year to pay our teachers to NOT instruct our students.

By the way, if you’re wondering about the actual cost of administering and scoring these tests, those numbers exist too, at least for the OAAs and OGTs.  The Ohio Department of Education started charging districts for replacement tests back in 2010 at a cost of $25 per test to merely “help” cover the cost.  So in addition to the incalculable cost of the loss of instructional time, what is the actual cost of administering all of the OAA and OGT tests?

costoftesting

The total cost of administering OAAs and OGTs comes to $65,731,500.00 annually.

If we combine these two amounts we come up with a (conservative) total of how much Ohio’s legislators have mandated that we spend each year to have our teachers NOT instruct our children.

$57,097,463.65 (paid to teachers to give tests)
plus
$65,731,500.00 (cost of testing program)
equals

$122,828,964.00

Ohio’s Republican-dominated General Assembly has created laws that require us to spend nearly $123 million each year to NOT instruct our children and they’re complaining about some snow days (for which they already created a law that will render the problem moot next year)?

What’s next?  Will the Ohio’s House GOP members complain about their tiring schedule that has them working 3 days a week (sometimes) for about 5-6 months a year?

Evangelize!
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  • Beth Mast

    yes, and then take a part time job to pay for those needed college courses

  • Big Jim

    There is a simple solution. Vote out the GOP in the state capitol.
    Why in the world anyone that works for a living vote for these idiout is beyond me. They are NOT for ANYONE that holds a regular job.

    WORK UNION-LIVE BETTER,…………I DO

  • wetsu

    What is your suggestion?

  • Nathanial Poling

    2 hour lunches? not everyone in the private sector is an investment banker, yet that same guy is working 365 days a year 70 hours a week… tell me more about 3 months off in the summer plus vacation days on top of it… I respect teachers, it is a tough job but anyone who complains about 56k/year when they get 3 months plus vacation plus good benefits… get with the rest of us in the real world when you want me to cry that you have to work a couple extra days in the summer because snow gave you some extra time off.

  • Nathanial Poling

    I am salary and I have to take vacation time

  • Nathanial Poling

    private sector leeches? thanks for showing us where the teachers are coming from… at least I am not a socialist union leech… hopefully you aren’t indoctrinating my children with that piss poor mindset

  • Nathanial Poling

    talk to the teachers in Wisconsin, the Republican Governor up there made tough choices and it saved teaching jobs, get out of the union propaganda manual and think and vote for yourself on occasion

  • Nathanial Poling

    I am with you on reducing the testing if you agree to weaken the union protecting bad teachers. The Waiting for Superman documentary was eye opening on this subject. While we are at it, why are we paying all teachers the same based on tenure only… better teachers should be paid more not only because they have been around forever.

  • Becky Snipes Thompson

    You have adequately proven that you know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about teachers.

  • Buddy Pinkham

    I wonder how many of THEM could actually pass the tests!

  • Anon

    I agree the testing is dumb. The teachers should be paid for calamity days. That being said, teachers are the biggest group of whiners I have ever seen. Go back through and read your comments. If it’s so bad go find a job in another industry.

  • ArgyleEuphoria

    If teachers want to be treated like professionals, they need to start acting like it. In no other industry do salaried employees get paid extra for extra time worked. Any other salaried professional work nights and weekends without extra pay. Teachers want to be paid like fast food employees–for each extra hour or day. Teachers are fairly compensated. $50k for 8 months work, 7 hour work day, 2 percent step increases (in addition to annual COLAs), tuition reimbursement, excellent insurance, and a lifetime annuity after 30 years (can retire at 55 while everyone else has to work till 70). Quit whining about a few extra days–be the professionals you claim to be.

  • duckmonkeyman

    Teachers “spoiled”? Are you really a teacher or just trolling? I worked 25+ years in private sector. We had 2 personal days, 2-4 weeks vacation, flex time, stock options, bonuses, holidays. Lunches were out and flexible. I could take comp time to take kids to appointments. I was also paid three times what I get teaching. In reality, we could work from home on “calamity” days. Our execs would be in “meetings” on the golf course on Thursdays at one company. At my buddies’ company, they get a BMW after 5 years. It is true that the 2008 recession has eroded those benefits, but they are gradually returning for professionals.

    I also loved teaching. But the environment in Ohio has turned very negative towards teachers. Under the anti-education leaders now running the state, the asssumption is all teachers are incompetent and lazy. The politicians believe teachers must be closely monitored and cannot be trusted. Micromanagement is now the norm. Rigid testing and punishment is layered upon unfunded mandates and unproven standards. Education has become a line item cost rather than an investment. Innovation, collaboration, and freedom have been replaced with fear, stack ranking, and big government interfere in the classroom. Ohio can do better.

  • duckmonkeyman

    See my comment below and learn something before teacher bashing. I take home $22,000 per year clear. I work 6:30am till 5pm, then remain on call via cell till 9-10pm for students. I spend outside time developing ppts and lessons or working long hours on the new state teacher evaluation mandates. I get no tuition reimbursement, work during snow days. There is no lifetime annuity and I cannot retire till at least 65 under the new rules. I worked years in private sector but my social security earned during those years will be drastically reduced due to offsets. My insurance offering are neatly identical to the private sector.

    Which begs the question, if you have it so bad and teachers so great – why aren’t you teaching? Quit your job, spend $30,000 to get licensed and show us all how it is done.

  • duckmonkeyman

    Likewise if teachers have it so great, you should become one and stop bashing.

  • David M. Schmitz

    Th interesting thing is once again how YOU miss the point. I have yet to read about one teacher on here “crying” about our teaching extra days in June. Nor, have I heard the teachers in MY school complaining about working extra summer hours. Many teachers are fortunate to have some of the best benefits going. My retirement plan in Ohio is one of the best, and one which will allow me to retire before many of my colleagues in the private sector. I get almost 2 and a half months off work, which I do enjoy to the fullest as I RENEW from doing the hard work of TEACHING which I am quite certain you know nothing about YOU have done it. I am proud of what I do and I am sure you work equally as hard, maybe even HARDER than ME. All that said, the point here is that the state of OHIO isn’t attacking YOUR profession, however, it is, and has been attacking MINE. The ignorance makes me angry. Oh, and for the record, teachers were not rioting in the streets for a few more snow days. That was the governor’s idea. Would it make me happy? At this point, what’s the difference? It’s just another opportunity for the CONSERVATIVE Republicans to show how little they know about the work of my people. Oh, and people who say they “respect” teachers, so “don’t misunderstand me”, and most “ordinary people” respect the profession, and then turn around and spout their ignorant rhetoric are what they are. They are the same people who sit around and envy what everyone else has, and they don’t. I admire the person who says to me, ” you know David, I am jealous that you will retire at 50, and at the same time, I wouldn’t have your job.” They get it.
    Ordinarily, I would NEVER write on one of these forums, but recently, I am sick of being the selfless, dutiful “public servant”, keeping my mouth shut, and smiling as people ignorantly run down my profession. By the way, I have used the word “ignorant” (kindly) here because that’s what it is. NOT KNOWING.

  • duckmonkeyman

    I was salaried and could work from home.

  • http://www.mrbigler.com/ Jeff Bigler

    This is a false premise. Teachers are paid a fixed salary, divided over the school year. The contract specifies the number of school days worked, hours per school day, curriculum to be taught, duties, etc. It doesn’t matter how many days you divide that salary over; it’s the same amount of money.

    If teachers are expected to teach 180 school days, their salaries should be based on 180 school days. The legislature is free to change the number of days of instruction, provided that they adjust salaries accordingly and provided that teachers are still willing to sign the contract.

  • Natalie

    Oh my – this throws a little light on where YOU are coming from. Did you feel attacked? This is what the education profession has put up with for years now.

  • ArgyleEuphoria

    Not bashing, just facts. (1) The $50k number is an average–most teachers salary schedules top out at $70k plus. Your $22k reflects lack of seniority, not penury. Don’t worry, you’ll get there. Plus, most private sector college grads don’t start out much better. (2) Your hours? Big deal. All professionals work at least that much. I’m not impressed. (3) You are flat wrong on insurance. Max teachers pay in Ohio is 20% premiumwhich is rare. In private sector, you pay 30-50%. (4) Pension reform in 2026 allows retirement at 60 with 35 years. Lifetime pay at 77% of top 5 years. Plus right to retire/rehire and double dip. This is a huge benefit. (5) I don’t want to teach. I’m not saying teachers are rich or overpaid. Not a teacher basher. But to pretend teachers are not fairly paid is laughable. It is a good job that guarantees a comfortable middle class life. (6) Forgot to mention TENURE–which means you basically need to commit gross negligence to get fired.

  • Natalie

    Teachers- DO NOT vote for Kasich again! Simple!

  • Kelly Hunter

    For all to know, teachers are not paid for snow days. We stretch our
    pay, believe it or not we do not get paid extra for not being in school.
    Is this a Republican thing? Would the old Republican (Lincoln) agree
    with this? Most likely not. But this new party that they call themselves
    Republicans, are NOT. They need to go back to school or at least spend
    time in a classroom and see if they could do our job, as teachers, with
    the pay that we receive. People most teachers have more education than a
    CEO and receive less pay. So the people down at the house, back off and
    leave my hard working money alone!

  • Guest

    You need to brush up on your information because everything you stated is flat out wrong.

    First – you can’t draw your pension until you’re 65 and have 35 yrs. – so no more retiring at 55 after 2015. $50K is not entry level pay – that is someone w/ Masters and 10-20 yrs into their career. Depending on where you work, some 1st yr teachers are only making $25K annually. I would say the avg first year salary is $30 – $35K annually.

    Teachers DO NOT get COLA adjustments. They do get step increases which is based on an index that varies from district to district. That also stops at yr 15. At yr 20, longevity pay can go into effect, and that varies from district to district also depending on the contract.

    Maybe you need to have a conversation w/ a teacher and find out exactly how many total hours they put in during the course of one calendar year – School’s in session for 9 months, so don’t know where you get that 8 month mess.

  • becca

    You need to brush up on your information because everything you stated is flat out wrong.

    First – you can’t draw your pension until you’re over 60 and have 35 yrs. – so no more retiring at 55 after 2015. $50K is not entry level pay – that is someone w/ Masters and 10-20 yrs into their career. Depending on where you work, some 1st yr teachers are only making $25K annually. I would say the avg first year salary is $30 – $35K annually.

    Teachers DO NOT get COLA adjustments. They do get step increases which is based on an index that varies from district to district. That also stops at yr 15. At yr 20, longevity pay can go into effect, and that varies from district to district also depending on the contract.

    Maybe you need to have a conversation w/ a teacher and find out exactly how many total hours they put in during the course of one calendar year – School’s in session for 9 months, so don’t know where you get that 8 month mess

  • becca

    Tenure doesn’t guarantee you a job – it guarantees you due process in the event that it is needed. It also means that you have met the criteria of your district to be awarded that status. Tenured teachers can and have been fired – with the proper documentation. No one anywhere should be fired w/out proper documentation.

  • Robert Barbrow

    or not at all

  • bobthebuilder

    Teachers are the biggest whiners in the nations workforce…They bitch about everything….If you don’t work you don’t get paid.Period!!! You only work 185 days a year anyways…If I don’t work I have two options…A. use a vacation day. B.lose a days pay

  • bobthebuilder

    So you want the children to help you do your own job…? Great ! Taxpayer money wasted even more

  • bobthebuilder

    Just do what is told of you…It’s your job to do that only…

  • bobthebuilder

    Backpay? So you want to be paid for nothing? You already do that all summer…

  • bobthebuilder

    You only work 182 days and the real world works 250 on average…Suck it up…

  • bobthebuilder

    They already get paid too much for working only 182 days a year…

  • bobthebuilder

    Sounds like they’re teachers.

  • bobthebuilder

    They are…

  • bobthebuilder

    182 days is not a full work year..

  • bobthebuilder

    Maybe they should get paid by the hr and not the year…also alot of people purchase things for their jobs that cost significantly more than school supplies. . Ex- mechanics/construction/ machinists

  • bobthebuilder

    Works 36 wks. Gets paid for 52. Sounds like a deal to me…

  • bobthebuilder

    I say cut the salaries to reflect 36 work weeks…

  • bobthebuilder

    It should…make them hourly..

  • bobthebuilder

    20 min lunch here. No golf…I made it to work and my wife had to use vacation time to watch our child during the storm…and the teachers I know were out sledding with their own kids on those days…

  • bobthebuilder

    As a salaried worker you should work the days missed like everybody else. If hourly then bitch..

  • bobthebuilder

    Hard work tanning…

  • bobthebuilder

    Future wal-mart greater,^^^. To pay for college that is…

  • bobthebuilder

    Your numbers are way low…we can see what our teachers earn in Ohio…I know two who clear 55k after only 5 yrs…

  • bobthebuilder

    If you only make 22k a year it’s your own fault…I made that at 24 working in a factory job…Which taught me what a “hard job” was…

  • bobthebuilder

    Very self serving also;)

  • Frank Cathey Jr.

    In Tennessee, and I would assume other states, teachers are not paid extra for snow days. The weather days are built into the work year, and added onto the minimum days required, so in reality if there are no snow days out of school, teachers (and all certified staff) are working overtime for no pay.

  • Audio7

    “They are”…..educated, dedicated, and deserving of more respect and more money….yes, I agree with you.

  • Amanda

    182 days is not a full work year. Hence the reason teachers do not get a full year’s salary. They get paid for the 182 days worked and then (depending on the district) choose to spread that pay throughout the summer. The money paid in the summer is money earned during the 182 days worked.

  • super_teacher

    Bob, please feel free to come and spend just one month doing my job. I am 100% confident you will change your attitude toward those in my profession.

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