QUOLKE’S CORNER *** SLO ARBITRATION RULING

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QUOLKE’S CORNER

SLO ARBITRATION RULING

Early yesterday morning all members received a joint email from Eric Gordon and myself regarding SLOs and changes made to SLOs for this school year.  The basis for this change is an Arbitrator’s ruling that was issued last week by Arbitrator, Robert Vana.

When a grievance is taken to Arbitration, the Arbitrator’s ruling becomes the rule.  Period.  No more discussion and it remains the rule in perpetuity.  Here is an example.  A member files a Grievance that the staff lounges in CMSD should all have Coke machines and not Pepsi machines.  The district denies the Grievance at all Steps.  The CTU votes to take the Grievance to Arbitration.  The Arbitrator rules that all vending machines in CMSD must be Coke machines.   Coke machines it is for everyone.  That decision is binding.  An Arbitrator's ruling becomes our contract.

Last week the CTU and the District received a ruling from an Arbitrator on an issue that was grieved at the end of last school year.  This ruling has an impact on many of our members.  Below is the best that I can do to try to summarize the events that lead to the ruling and the steps that must be taken as teachers.  This ruling is based on teacher’s Student Growth Measures.

Just a reminder - 50% of a teacher's evaluation is based on TDES and 50% is based on Student Growth Measures (SGM).  This Grievance focused just on how the district figured out the Student Growth Measures part of teacher's evaluations.  The Student Growth Measures that are utilized for each teacher are based upon the category that you teach in.

Category A = 35% value added & 15% SLO (usually 4-8 grade math & reading  

             teachers)

Category B = 35% vendor assessment & 15% SLO (usually all other core teachers  that are not in 4-8 grade)

Category C = 35% SLO & 15% SLO (teachers that do not have either value added or vendor data)

In the 2013-2014 school year, there were approximately 61 teachers that had been identified as Category B teachers throughout the school year, but in the spring they had no vendor data that came back.  The contract says where data does not exist, you default to TDES rating.   So, the CTU believes that for Student Growth Measures the district should have attributed 35% to TDES and 15% to SLO.  The District did not do that, they only defaulted 25% to TDES and 25% to SLO which caused a number of teacher's final Effectiveness Rating to go down from Skilled to Developing or even Developing to Skilled.  The CTU filed a Grievance, which made its way to Arbitration in September.

On September 15, the CTU and CMSD went to binding Arbitration asking for a determination to this:

Whether intervention specialists who are expected to have aggregate vendor assessment data at the end of the 2013-2014 school year and who had one SLO should have been reported to ODE as Category B teachers, with TDES observational data defaulting to 35% and the SLO weighted at 15%, or whether those teachers were properly reported to ODE as Category C teachers with TDES observational data reflecting 25% of the student growth measure with the SLO reflecting the remaining 25%.

Pretty complicated way of saying – You cannot change a person’s category at the end of the year without notification and giving them the opportunity to write two SLOs. When there was no Vendor data available, the district changed the impacted teachers' categorization from Category B to Category C. 

The District's position was based on one line on the ODE website.  The District's position was that there are no Category B teachers (only A & C) until data comes back at the end of the year.  If vendor data comes back for a teacher at the end of the year then the teacher is a Category B teacher.  If no data comes back, then the teacher remains Category C.

Arbitrator Vana, in a way, split the baby.  He set the policy for what would happen to the impacted teachers from the 2013-14 school year and set a policy for the future.

In the end, the Arbitrator ruled for the 2013-2014 school year, the Grievants’ Student Growth Measures will be 35% TDES and 15% SLO (the other 50% of the final evaluation rating is still TDES).  This decision is what the CTU argued for and sought for the Grievants.

However, in the ruling the Arbitrator only agrees to this in the 2013-2014 school year.  Going forward the Arbitrator has ruled that there are no Category B teachers at this point in the school year.  Teachers are either Category A (SLO & Value Added) or Category C (SLOs only).  Category A teachers must have a value-added report.  As you are aware, EVAAS issued value-added reports and then pulled them back, so right now, we do not have Category A teachers.  (As a side note, the value added reports could come in any day now, if they do come in then we will have Category A teachers who will only need to write one SLO).  If at the end of the year, a teacher has vendor data that is returned - then the teacher will be moved to Category B.

To adhere to this ruling it means that all teachers who have student growth measures for this year will need to write 2 SLOs (EXCEPT ACCOMPLISHED TEACHERS WHO ARE STILL EXEMPT FOR THIS YEAR).  Why would a teacher have to write 2 SLOs?  Our contract and our law requires multiple Student Growth Measures.  You cannot have one growth measure (like all value added or all shared attribution).  So 2 SLOs will need to be written to try to ensure that every member has multiple student growth measures and so that we are in compliance with the Arbitrator's Ruling.  (Again, the value added reports could come in any day now, if they do come in then we will have Category A teachers who will only need to write one SLO).

If you have a specific question on what student growth measures or SLOs you are to write, please email SLO@clevelandmetroschools.org so that the CMSD and CTU can work to resolve the question.  One important reason to email your questions is so that you have an answer in writing that can be referred to in the future if necessary.

When you go into arbitration, it is extremely difficult to predict what the outcome will be.  But we have an answer.  I do not think that anyone imagined that implementing all of these state laws would be so complicated.  The full Arbitrator Ruling is available on the CTU website and you can see in great, intricate detail how complicated the Arbitrator found maneuvering the law, CBA, and ODE.  Thank you for your continued patience and flexibility as we work through an extremely complex system.  Perhaps someday our legislators will understand that measuring a teacher’s effectiveness is simply not as simple as a test score. 

NOTE:  Value added data could come in as early as today (11/6).  Once a teacher has a value added report he/she is only required to complete 1 SLO.

In Union,

David