Dismissal for Poor Performance: Ohio

Exiting Ineffective Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should articulate that ineffective classroom performance is grounds for dismissal and ensure that the process for terminating ineffective teachers is expedient and fair to all parties.

Meets in part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Dismissal for Poor Performance: Ohio results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/OH-Dismissal-for-Poor-Performance-10

Analysis of Ohio's policies

Ohio requires local school boards to include procedures for using evaluation results for the removal of poorly performing teachers. 

The state also retains other policy that does not distinguish the due process rights of teachers dismissed for ineffective performance from those facing other charges commonly associated with license revocation such as a felony and/or morality violations. The process is the same regardless of the grounds for cancellation, which the state articulates vaguely as "good and just cause."

In Ohio, tenured teachers who are terminated have multiple opportunities to appeal. After receiving written notice of dismissal, the teacher may—within 10 days—request a hearing, which must occur within 30 days. The aggrieved teacher may then—within 30 days—file an additional appeal with the court of common pleas. This decision may again be appealed to the appellate court.

SB 5, which included policy that related to this goal, was repealed by referendum in November 2011.

Citation

Recommendations for Ohio

Specify that classroom ineffectiveness is grounds for dismissal.
Ohio leaves it up to districts to determine the procedures for removing poorly performing teachers based on evaluation results, failing to ensure that teachers who receive a certain number of ineffective evaluation ratings are eligible for dismissal. The state should consider establishing at least some marker for how districts should utilize evaluation results to dismiss poor performers so that districts do not feel they lack the legal basis for terminating consistently poor performers. 

Ensure that teachers terminated for poor performance have the opportunity to appeal within a reasonable time frame.
Nonprobationary teachers who are dismissed for any grounds, including ineffectiveness, are entitled to due process. However, cases that drag on for years drain resources from school districts and create a disincentive for districts to attempt to terminate poor performers. Therefore, Ohio must ensure that the opportunity to appeal occurs only once and only at the district level. It is in the best interest of both the teacher and the district that a conclusion be reached within a reasonable time frame. 

Distinguish the process and accompanying due process rights between dismissal for classroom ineffectiveness and dismissal for morality violations, felonies or dereliction of duty.
While nonprobationary teachers should have due process for any termination, it is important to differentiate between loss of employment and issues with far-reaching consequences that could permanently impact a teacher's right to practice. Ohio should ensure that appeals related to classroom effectiveness are only decided by those with educational expertise.  

State response to our analysis

Ohio was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. The state also noted that the board of education adopted the Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators on March 11, 2008. The Ohio Department of Education maintains a separate Office of Professional Conduct to pursue allegations of unprofessional conduct and applies disciplinary actions involving individuals. The Licensure Code serves as the basis for decisions on issues pertaining to licensure that are consistent with applicable law and provides a guide for conduct in situations that have professional implications for all individuals licensed by the state board. The state noted that this is a separate process from the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) model, which includes an effectiveness rating for teachers based on student growth and teacher performance.

Last word

Teachers that violate the Licensure Code of Professional Conduct are investigated and given due process rights according to the state's revised code described in the above analysis, just like any other teacher facing dismissal for "good and just cause." 

In addition, though the OTES model system does provide a means for rating teachers as "ineffective," "developing," "proficient," and "accomplished" with subsequent processes for those deemed ineffective, it appears that this system will only be followed closely by Race to the Top districts and does not ensure that ineffectiveness is grounds for dismissal for all teachers.


 

Research rationale

One of the greatest shortcomings of teacher performance appraisals has been school systems' unwillingness and inability to differentiate instructional competency. The New Teacher Project, 2009, "The Widget Effect: Our National Failure to Acknowledge and Act on Differences in Teacher Effectiveness" at http://widgeteffect.org/

See NCTQ, State of the States: Trends and Early Lessons on Teacher Evaluation and Effectiveness Policies (2011) as well as studies by The New Teacher Project of human resource and dismissal policies in various districts at: http://www.tntp.org/.

For information on the high cost of teacher dismissals, see Steve Brill, "The Rubber Room," New Yorker, August 31, 2009 at: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/08/31/090831fa_fact_brill.
 
Also, see Scott Reeder, "The Hidden Costs of Tenure: Why are Failing Teachers Getting a Passing Grade?" Small Newspaper Group, 2005 at:http://www.nctq.org/nctq/research/1135269736359.pdf.