ay in and day out, teachers see the needs ofstudents. They understand what works and whatdoesn’t work, they celebrate success whenstudents achieve, and they work hard to find better wayswhen students struggle.Studies have repeatedly shown that teachers are tremendously important to student achievement.
Theyhave also found that when a student has an ineffective teacher, achievement suffers dramatically.
States across the nation, including Ohio, are starting torecognize the high price that is paid when we ignore theresearch, compromise our standards, and don’t insist that every student be taught by an effective teacher. It isfor this reason that Ohio enacted legislation in 2011 toimprove and strengthen the state’s teacher evaluationprocess and requirements. Ohio’s current teacherevaluations are not differentiating sufficiently betweeneffective and ineffective teachers. High percentages of teachers receive excellent ratings, despite wide variancein student learning. Ohio wants to stay competitive withother states, like Florida, that are implementing rigorous teacher evaluation systems based on demonstratedimprovements in student learning, and getting positiveresults.
The map on page 2 shows those states thatare working to improve teacher evaluation and tyingevaluation, in part, to student academic achievement.For too long, evaluation systems have treated all teachers the same when, in fact, they are not.
Ensuring that everychild has an effective teacher is a bipartisan issue. On manyoccasions, President Obama has made the case that ournation must focus on ensuring that there is an effective teacher in every classroom. He has called for radical changesaying, “We’ve got to be able to identify teachers who aredoing well. And, ultimately, if some teachers aren’t doing agood job, they’ve got to go.”
Similarly, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has made astrong case for an improved system that identifies andrewards effective teachers.He said, “It is time torecognize and reward ourbest teachers, support those in the middle, andalso acknowledge that teaching may not be thebest career choice for asmall minority of teacherswho continue to struggledespite support andmentorship. Teaching is nota job for everyone.”
Governor John Kasich iscommitted to the successof every student, and to theimportance of hearing the perspective of teachers asOhio works to build an outstanding P-16 educationsystem. He was emphatic in the spring of 2011, whenhe said, “I want to hear from those teachers who want abetter way and who have ideas for how to get us there. Ilook forward to working with them to create a betterway.”In response to this call, Robert Sommers, Director of theGovernor’s Office of 21st Century Education, and SarahDove, Ohio’s Teacher Liaison,assembled a steeringcommittee consisting of across-section of teachersrepresenting schools andeducators across the state.This steering committeeprovided valuable guidance andleadership to the process ofsoliciting and analyzing teacherinput. Dr. Sommers and Mrs.Dove conducted 19 meetingsacross the state. They reviewed the many letters and emailsresponding to the governor’scall. More than 1,400 teachersoffered their input.