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Ohio’s new collective bargaining law does away with the traditional pay structure for public workers that values work experience and replaces it with a system that focuses on job performance.
For public school teachers, the shift means teacher evaluations would be factored into their salary.
The new law, known as Senate Bill 5, has been signed by Republican Gov. John Kasich but it is not in effect yet. Organized labor groups and Democrats are trying to repeal SB 5 through a voter referendum this fall because they say the law is unfair to middle-class, working families.
State Sen. Tim Grendell, a Republican from Chesterland who voted against SB 5, criticized the new structure for paying teachers during a televised forum about the state budget April 18 in Cleveland.
"In Senate Bill 5, there is this new method of evaluating teachers…you’re also going to be rated on what the parents think of you and they can send questionnaires and surveys home to parents," Grendell said.
Allowing parents to play a role in evaluating teachers – and ultimately deciding how much they get paid – is problematic, Grendell said, because teachers are responsible for disciplining their children.
Since SB 5 continues to be a heavily debated issue and because supporters of the law have accused teachers unions of misleading their members about how the law will affect salaries, PolitiFact Ohio decided to check out Grendell’s claim.
Within SB 5 – a massive law change that overhauls collective bargaining for public employees and establishes numerous rules regarding pay and benefits – is a section devoted to paying teachers. The law eliminates the previous structure set in law, which sets raises based on a teacher’s education level and work experience.
The law says that school boards must adopt a pay structure based on a teacher’s performance. The law does not prescribe dollar amounts for salaries, but it says that districts must factor five categories into their performance-based pay schedule: what type of license the teacher holds, whether the teacher is "highly qualified" as defined by state law, students’ classroom performance, teacher performance evaluations, and any other criteria the board decides to incorporate.
Grendell’s claim related to teacher evaluations, so let’s zero in on that aspect of the performance-based pay structure. SB 5 includes a description of what the teacher evaluations would look like.
The law requires the State Board of Education to establish a framework for the evaluations. Local school districts then will adopt their own specific evaluations based on the state’s framework.
The evaluations will include whether parents and students are satisfied with a teacher, "which may be measured by surveys, questionnaires, or other forms of soliciting feedback," the law reads.
Teacher evaluations also will measure how the teacher works in the classroom, which can be gauged by classroom observations; how the teacher communicates with students, parents, colleagues and members of the community; and students’ test scores.
Local school districts will have some discretion in deciding how to weight the different pieces of teacher evaluations, but they are expected to include each factor laid out under the new law.
As Grendell pointed out at the budget forum, the law does call for parent questionnaires to gauge parent’s satisfaction.
We rate the statement True.
ideastream, "Cut, Tax or Change: The Kasich Budget Challenge," April 18, 2011
129th Ohio General Assembly, Ohio Senate Bill 5, as enrolled
Ohio Legislative Service Commission, analysis of SB 5
Interview with Matt Dotson, lobbyist for the Ohio Education Association
Interview with Patrick Gallaway, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education
Interview and e-mail correspondence with Michael Dittoe, spokesman for House Speaker William G. Batchelder
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