Editorial: Evaluation of Teachers Must Improve

Raising the level of Ohio’s education system is a top priority for Gov. Kasich and you can read more below from the Columbus Dispatch about the need to better assess educators and ensure that our children are getting the best education possible:

Effective teachers are the most valuable education asset that Ohio (or any state) has. Statistics don’t lie when it comes to their impact on children’s learning. Stanford economist Eric Hanushek, who recently testified before a joint hearing of the Ohio House and Senate education committees, reports that “having a high-quality teacher throughout elementary school can substantially offset or even eliminate the disadvantage of low socio-economic background.” Similarly, a weak teacher can blight a child’s prospects.


Gov. John Kasich’s budget and the recently enacted Senate Bill 5 seek to move the state toward evaluations that identify the impact of individual instructors on student learning, in order to inform decisions around retention, pay, hiring and dismissal. This is a huge opportunity to raise the needle on student achievement. But Ohio has to get the details right. Systems that measure and reward performance are still at the pilot stage, and no jurisdiction has yet developed a perfect system.


Creating better teacher-evaluation systems in Ohio is not as daunting as some would have us think. The key will be to encourage district and teacher participation. Don’t wait for the state to do it – and don’t expect to create a one-size-fits-all evaluation system to cover every local circumstance. Instead, press districts to come up with systems that incorporate common data elements from the state while also incorporating measures such as expert and peer evaluations, building- and district-level performance metrics, and even student evaluations.

Ohio is well-positioned to lead the nation in the development of high-quality teacher-evaluation systems. It has many of the necessary pieces already in place and it has the political momentum to get this done. Now is the time to do it.

You can read the entire editorial here.

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27 Responses to Editorial: Evaluation of Teachers Must Improve

  1. Dan Crane April 14, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    I was in Vandalia on Monday the 11th for his meeting as the senior center. Great communication. Stand firm and continue to do the “right” thing for Ohio.


  2. George H. Stewart April 14, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    How come nothing is being said about
    parent involvement? You can have the
    best teacher in the state but if student does not come to class or do homework, the student will fail. A good education foundation starts at home. Don’t blame teacher for students failure when the parents do not care!

  3. Kim Harter April 14, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    I think this should have been in place a long time ago. An evaluation system would encourage the teachers to be the best they can be. We all lose our drive when it comes to our jobs. Teachers need to be excited about teaching whether they have been doing it for 4 years or 24 years. They play a vital role in our children’s developement.

  4. alpheus pullin April 14, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    Gov. kasich you are the best Gov.since Jim Rohdes!!!
    teacher evaluation is a must,we can not continue the status quo,teachers must be graded and stop rewarding them just on years of service,the private sector is taxed out and we demand quality for our money.

  5. Kerry Collins April 14, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    All evaluation systems are unfair and subjective even when there are the greatest intentions by the people creating the performance evaluation systems to try to make them fair and objective. Teachers are being put down as the scape goats for all of our education problems. I believe that the governor is ” barking up the wrong tree”:

    All of the teachers that I know do a great job! Having them be worried their job security and a subjective evaluation performance rating will hurt their performance instead of improve it. They should be focused on helping kids. Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts. Evaluations are determined by your compatibility of the people rating you.

  6. Ken Ellis April 14, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    This is a good beginning. Let’s never be guilty of trying to fix classroom problems by throwing money at it like the Fed. Govt. is prone to do.

  7. Dave April 14, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    If I’m a teacher and I know I’m going to be evaluated on how much students learn, then I only want to teach great students, gifted students, not those from single parent or broken homes. I don;t want students who are slower in learning because my pay will get progressively lower.
    Am I missing something here?

  8. Faye Hensley April 14, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    For years education has missed the boat to what comprises a good education. The never think that it begins in the home with teaching values and giving proper begininnings in this world. It all carries over to the school. The teacher is not at all the beginning stage. She or he can only build on what is already there..not change it. This is what is wrong with America. No early values being taught by parents. Whe we get to the core of the problem is when it can be solved…not by throwing money here and there…I am a teacher for 37 half years…retired since 1999. The problems have only gotten worse because the souce needs to be treated first.

  9. Bill Lutterbein April 14, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    I’m glad to hear you say “one size fits all evaluation” won’t work. I suggest that most rural schools do better than most intercity schools, not because of the teachers, but because of the family values and general environment. You could put the best teacher in a bad school and get bad results and you could put a less than stellar teacher in a good school and get good results. Bottom line is, in probably 20% of the cases there isn’t anything that can be done to help the student in a bad school with no family support. I will always say it has more to do with family expectations and support than teacher quality. And yes I understand there are exceptions.

  10. Sandra Tugrul April 14, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    When tenure and automatic step raises became the norm, educational outcomes
    plummeted. The best teachers are known by other teachers, students and parents. The evaluation process cannot be performed by principals and administrators who may use “politics” as a criteria. We all know the possibility of “favortism” exists. The unions fight the “evaluation” process using that excuse. Let’s eliminate that argument.

  11. lynne smith April 14, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    I agree!!!
    I understand budget cuts need to be made but encourage our leaders NOT to cut medicaid and medicare and nursing services to our disabled. It is far more expensive to keep these people in hospitals or prisons than in their own homes taking medicine from nurses. We need to consider ALL aspects of repercusions before passing bills to cut things out.
    Reagan passed a law to keep teen/child mothers from getting welfare if they lived at home with parents. BUT a law existed that kept them from purchasing insurance until age 21 so these young mothers had to give up custody to grandparents and others in order for their children to see a doctor! When making laws, consider the repercusions! Please don’t cut medicaid, medicare and nursing services. Alot of mentally ill are able to function in society because nurses and homemakers come to their homes to make sure they take their medications (which without would cost taxpayers ALOT MORE by keeping them in hospitals or prisons).
    Please, leaders, think. Please citizens, remind your leaders to made decisions responsibly!
    Thank you.

  12. Max Shaw April 14, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    I welcome more local involvement. Who is more interested in the success of students than their parents. Maybe we will make some mistakes, but at least we can make corrections more easily than a state or federal run program.
    One size does not fit all is an indication we need more local input.

  13. Vicki April 14, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    Let’s remember this when talking about evaluating our teachers:
    1. Teachers only have students a short time each day.
    2. If you are going to evaluation the teachers, you must start evaluating their parents: (a) Parents that don’t come to scheduled conferences. (b) Parents whose children do not do their homework. (d) Parents that insist their child move on to the next grade when their child cannot do what is required in the grade they have just completed. (e) Parents who send their children to school dirty and hungry. Also, please remember to hold charter schools under the accountability as you hold public schools and grade these charter schools to include the fact that the charger schools can pick and choose the children that go to their schools while the state schools have to teach all children, also having to make IEP’s for many, many special children that are supposed to each have aides which does not happen very often.

    And last, but not least, please remember how much a teacher pays for their education. A good education costs between $75,000 to $100,000, then add in the cost of Master’s degree.

  14. B. Dodson April 14, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

    No other business would keep under producing employees year after year plus reward them with anything and everything they want. Why can’t we study the schools in other nations?? Our teachers are being lumped together as mediocore but when do you ever hear about a good teacher or learn about their product improvment A KID……..?? Plus this has always been the case……..parents are being bullied by the teachers……”YOU KNOW THEY TAKE IT OUT ON YOUR CHILD’ IF YOU CRITIZED THEM. So no one speaks up to correct a problem if you go to the school you are directed to the principal who then protects the teacher who then protects the principal.. So where can you go.?……….it is all bullying so parents just pray for the next school year to be better. Our son was made to wear a baby bonnet (as a dunce cap) and sit in front of the class on a chair while everyone laughed at him. This was in kindergarten and he NEVER EVER forgot it…………..He’s now 45 yrs old.

  15. Elizabeth Moll April 14, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    I am a retired teacher. I taught for 26 years in Ohio. I currently do Ohio Achievement Assessment Proficiency tutoring in an elementary school.

    A statewide evaluation team that visits schools to evaluate teachers would be the fairest way to evaluate teachers because in-school politics play a role in a teacher’s evaluation if the principal is not a strong person. Many principals are not strong leaders.

    Also, if evaluations are done by statewide test scores, teachers will simply cheat. The reason: one teacher might have a class of high ability students while another teacher might have a class of dredges who are difficult to teach.

    The No Child Left Behind Act has resulted in the placement of low-ability students into the regular classroom. These students are expected to pass the same tests as the average and above average ability students. The special education teachers nudge these students into passing the tests by giving the answers or suggesting the answers because these teachers are told they must make the proper accommodations to “see that these students succeed” in subject matter that is way over their abilities to remember and comprehend. An outsider might call this cheating, but I call this survival in a crazy world of unreasonable expectations. Something should be done about this.

  16. Gary Eaton April 14, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

    It’s a good thing Eric didn’t have any weak teachers or his statements would have been even more ludicrous.

    Consider two students, equally intelligent, at the same school, taking the same classes, with the same bad teacher. One is a failure the other a success. What makes the difference?

    answer: MOTIVATION

    Intellectual capacity and motivation in school comes from parents. Take the teacher excuse away from parents. Put the blame for kids bad behavior and performance where it belongs, on the parents. Change your goal to get most out of each kid, not equal performance. Skip programs like Rhee, Bloomberg, and Texas. They’re expensive failures that cause cheating and test fraud and waste our money.

  17. Cecil Payne April 14, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

    You are doing a great job John,Give them hell!

  18. Barb April 15, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    I must say that I now regret voting for Gov. Kasich. I understand that budgets do need to be balanced and that we need to evaluate teachers better but with all your budget cuts, especially when it comes to school funding, we are going to hit rock bottom! Our school district laid off 79 teachers yesterday and have said that the class room sizes will double. Are you kidding me? No matter how good a teacher is, there is no way one can control that many students…especially when all of their rights are taken away when it comes to discipline. With all of your cuts, the district now wants to put a levy on the ballot which is definitely not going to happen with the way the economy is. Are you really doing these things to better Ohio? I don’t think so. Our kids are the future but they are going to have a long, up hill battle because of what is being done today.

  19. Paula April 15, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    Thank goodness! Finally someone cares about whether our children get an education or not. My youngest daughter’s high school math teacher admitted to the class that he really didn’t want to be a teacher but it was a requirement in order to get the football coaching job he wanted. He didn’t really care what went on in his class. Teachers are not held to standards, they are guaranteed a job for life, and all too often they are hired on the “buddy system” while deserving teachers cannot find a job.

  20. Alice Brewer April 15, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    What we really need is parent evaluation. Too many kids today have no respect for any authority figure and too many parents will not back the teacher up when needed. Also, even well meaning parents often both work and do not have the time or energy to work with their children on homework assignments. And, it is not possible to compare inner city teachers with those in more affluent areas.

  21. Joanne April 16, 2011 at 6:08 am #

    We don’t need a parent evaluation. We need standards of behavior for children. If a child is disrespectful or disorderly, a system of reasonable consequences should quickly be followed. This will instill a respect of rules by the students. My kids had a couple teachers that only yelled at kids and one teacher who didn’t yell at all, but passed out detentions and/or suspensions. Guess whose class had the best behaved children.

  22. Sandy April 16, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    Thank you for addressing this serious concern. There are too many teachers who are only still teaching because of their union. I hope SB5 will help in breaking union control.

    I would also like to see you address some way of making schools accountable for enforcement of the state’s bullying policy. I am from Salem and our schools make lip-service to the policy but do nothing to enforce it. I know of children in our schools that have actually transferred out because our schools have done nothing to protect them.

    Thank you,

    Sandy Capel

  23. Rick Bush April 16, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    There’s a better idea than waiting years while union bosses and bureaucrats arm-wrestle over the slightest changes in policy: empower each parent to choose their child’s school and teacher. Good teachers would attract more students, making them more valuable, while bad teachers would fail to fill their classroom and get weeded-out. Most of us wouldn’t tolerate someone else trying to assign us a specific head of lettuce in the supermarket, yet we give up the choice of something as important and personal as who will educate our kids to someone who has no interest in them as individuals. That is outrageous!

  24. Roger Gwin April 16, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    Steps and tenure need to be phased out of negotiations. Several times I have witnessed teachers relaxing after being awarded tenure. It may not be all teachers, but it is very significant. OEA has always used zero increases very loosely. Most zero settlements still awarded 60-70 % pay raises to staff because of steps and indexing. Now they are talking “true” zero raises. Who has the liar been all these years? Keep going you have already gotten their attention. I wonder how many school officials and board members will sign the petitons?

  25. Kelly Washington April 16, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    Very much needed. We have some of the Best of The Best Teachers here in Canal Winchester Ohio. My daughter has struggled with school due to ADHD which was not diagnosed until 5th grade. Her teachers have been there for her all the way. However, with the standardized testing it does make it difficult for the teachers to reach out and teach as needed. They are, in many cases, unable to use their God given gift/passion to help others due to the method used for their evaluation.

  26. DJ HERON April 16, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    I agree that parents need to care and encourage more. As a 30 year retired teacher I saw family interest was of utmost importance. About teacher evaluation: to be accurate the kids need to be assessed at the beginning of the year on subject level and ability level. At the end of the year reassess and see gains made based on ability and growth in subject matter. Children come to school from so many different backgrounds and abilites that to expect all children to be at the same level at the end of a school term is unrealistic.

  27. Linda Armitage April 27, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    I agree completely with DJ Heron. I don’t think SB5 addresses this. I don’t believe we should keep bad teachers but they are few & far between. I believe the unions don’t hire the teachers, but administration does so who is to blame?

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