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Is $16M in Incentives Enough for Teachers?

Is $16M in Incentives Enough for Teachers?

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Published by Greg Mild
Printable copy of a Facebook note debunking the Ohio Legislature's Teacher Incentive Pay program.
Printable copy of a Facebook note debunking the Ohio Legislature's Teacher Incentive Pay program.

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Published by: Greg Mild on May 07, 2011
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05/07/2011

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Greg Mild, Columbus Education Association
Is $16M in Incentives Enough for Teachers?
I’ve been wondering
why no one is talking about the “teacher incentive payment program” thatGovernor Kasich has included in his budget proposal. Are we wondering if maybe it’s a goodthing? Are we thinking that maybe we want to keep this component of his proposal because itoffers teachers a chance at getting more money?Well, today I have the details. I have the projected dollar amounts and where those studentsand teachers are located. And I’m going to tell you why all teachers should summarily reject theGovernor’s proposal as an insult to education.I’ll warn you in advance that this issue has many layers, and I didn’t even come close toaddressing them all.First the background:In the budget bill (HB 153, Sec. 3302.23), the Governor proposes paying teachers fifty dollarsper student for a class where students demonstrate more than a standard year of growth asdetermined by the Ohio Department of Education’s value-added model, a measure based onOhio’s standardized tests. This growth is designated as
Green
on the state’s report(
Yellow 
designates a year,
Red 
designates less than a year; full reports can be found inthe
Ratings
folder)These results are only applicable to students in grades 4-8 in Reading and Math. In co-teachingsituations, or situations where students grow in both areas, teachers will split the stipendequally. A single student represents a single fifty dollar stipend.Kasich’s rationale from his
Reform Book
reads:
Reward Superior EducatorsWhat will change
Pay teachers a per-student bonus for every student in a class which achieves more thanone year growth as measured by the value-added dimension of the local report cards.
Why this change is important 
Teachers who are helping students gain more than a year‘s growth in a year deserve tobe rewarded.
But let me put those statements into context for you. The heading and sentence thatimmediately precedes these reads:
Put Superior Teachers in Every Classroom,Excellent Principals in Every School 
We will make Ohio the preferred destination for creative, talented educators including Teach for America.
 
 
LAYER #1
— All professional educators in Ohio should find the Governor’s comparison toTeach for America insulting, at best. For more detail, you can read my comprehensive critiqueof TFA on
.So if I let that insult to professional educators slide and focus instead on the “Reward” that ispromised, I need to know what this reward looks like.The Ohio Department of Education databases for Value-Added results do not identify teachersor specific classrooms, but they do identify student counts in grade levels by schools. Using thisdata set, I projected the total stipend amounts that would have been paid out over the past four years.2007: $20,854,900.002008: $18,660,050.002009: $20,240,000.002010: $15,918,150.00Why the significant drop for 2010? The value-added calculations were “reset” to better balancethe results. According to ODE:
 A stabilization process was included as part of the value-added analysis to provide you with more useful and consistent information about grade and subject gains. This will  provide a more even distribution of value-added results for subject- and grade-level ratings.
This typically happens every 3-4 years to better reflect current state performanceaverages.
Over the past two years, there have been considerable skews in the grade- and subject-level gains for a cohort from one year to the next.
Value-added models assume there isvertical alignment 
in the rigor of tests, that is, the rigor in this years’ fourth-grade reading test is of the same amount of rigor in next years’ fifth-grade reading test. However,
the previous assessments were not created with consideration for value-added analysis needs. Until Ohio launches the new assessments, the addition of thestabilization process is a necessary interim solution to providing Ohio practitioners full utilization of value-added information.
Hmm. According to the Ohio Department of Education the tests that we are using to judge theperformance of teachers and students for annual growth “
were not created with considerationfor value-added analysis needs
.” And these tests will remain in place until new assessmentsare launched (SY 2013-2014).The Governor wants to use a flawed model to calculate not only Teacher Incentive Pay, he isalso proposing using this value-added model as a key component of school districtfunding(
LAYER #2 
) and as a key measure in the evaluation of anindividual teacher’scompensation(
LAYER #3
).Okay, I threw those substantial Teacher Incentive Program payments at you without muchwarning or detail, so let’s take a second look.2007: $20,854,900.002008: $18,660,050.002009: $20,240,000.002010: $15,918,150.00
 
Remembering that these numbers represent $50 per student, we can extrapolate the followingnumbers of students who demonstrated more than a year of growth each those years.2007: 417,0982008: 373,2012009: 404,8002010: 318,363Anyone should question a sudden drop of 1/4 in the population of students demonstratingprogress. Did anyone hear this when it became public last August? In the leadup to theelection, wouldn’t a huge drop in student achievement have been trotted out by Kasich as acondemnation of Strickland’s policies? OF COURSE it would have. And the fact that it wasn’treinforces the notion that student achievement did not suffer, it was the recalculation of Value-Added scores that caused this apparent drop.
This demonstrates the significant effect the recalculation of the value-added model hason the final numbers, and on incentive pay, and teacher salary, and district funding.
 
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
LAYER #4
: You may remember that Governor Kasich has also proposed another component to“hold teachers accountable” in his Reform Book:
Test Teachers in Poor-Performing SchoolsWhat will change
Teachers employed in a school identified in the bottom [ten] percent of the state‘sschools on the basis of student results will be required to take licensure tests.
Why this change is important 
Struggling schools need to be sure teachers are competent and fully capable of teaching their assigned curriculum. Testing teachers to be sure they know their content and basic  pedagogy is a key step in this process.Testing will make sure teachers are competent in the subjects they are teaching.Limiting this provision to poor-performing schools will minimize costs and avoid unnecessary burdens on quality schools.(I posted a detailed discussion of teacher testing on www.plunderbund.com last week.
) In that previous post, I alluded to the fact that under Kasich’s proposal, teachers could receiveincentive pay AND have to retake the Praxis exams. I have confirmed this to be true. Based onthe ODE data, I can only calculate the number of grades (classes) and schools affected in thismanner.2008: 741 out of 3342 classes2009: 1123 out of 4175 classes2010: 860 out of 3146 classesIn
2008
,
22%
of the teachers receiving Teacher Incentive Pay would need to retake their Praxisexams.In
2009
,
27%
of the teachers receiving Teacher Incentive Pay would need to retake their Praxisexams.

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