John Kasich and the Republicans in the legislature have decided to go to war with teachers on multiple fronts – all of which have the potential to seriously hurt our state’s education system and impact the quality of education our kids receive.

There is a good deal of analysis out there regarding the damage that Kasich and the legislature will be causing in the name of “reform” but some of the best I’ve read lately has come from Greg Mild, an educator from Columbus who has been fired up by the attacks on teachers and the education system as a whole.

Over the past few weeks Greg has posted his analysis as notes on Facebook and I urge everyone to check it out, especially if you are interested in how the new administration’s policies are going to impact education in Ohio.

Greg has graciously allowed me to reprint some of his analysis here at Plunderbund and I thought I’d start off with his comments on House Bill 21, one of many bills the GOP is trying to rush through the legislature while everyone is distracted by SB5. HB21 seeks to change the rules for certifying teachers to allow Teach for America participants to circumvent the existing teacher certification process and to automatically receive a resident educator license.

Here’s Greg’s take on the bill:

House Bill 21 lowers the quality of teaching for future children by lowering current standards for teacher preparation. Teach for America is touted as bringing the best and the brightest to the classroom, but we have always done so in Ohio through existing state law requiring universities to provide rigorous teacher preparation programs.

House Bill 21 would require the Ohio Department of Education to issue a Resident Educator license to all TFA participants.

A COMPARISON OF THE TFA PROGRAM VS> OHIO’S HIGHER STANDARDS

Field Experience

Teach for America:
Corps members teach summer school students for approximately two hours each day [five weeks long], under the supervision of experienced teachers. For the first hour, most corps members work directly with four to five students to build skills in math and literacy, to gain experience in facilitating group work. For the second hour, corps members lead a full class lesson, which builds skills in delivering lessons and managing a classroom.

Current Ohio Law:
A minimum of twelve weeks of full-time student teaching [7.5-hour days] and a minimum of one-hundred clock hours of field experiences prior to student teaching.

Ohio State University Secondary Math, Science Technology program:
M.Ed. students are placed for field experiences (observation, participation, internship) in schools in fall, winter, and spring quarters for increasingly richer experiences. These placements collectively provide 700 clock hours in the schools spread over 150 days (of the typical 180-day school calendar). The placements are in public middle and high schools in Franklin County with each student experiencing urban and suburban and middle and high school classrooms. STEM M.Ed. students have program classes in fall and winter quarter in the late-afternoon and early evening in addition to being in their schools each morning. Spring quarter is a twelve-week student teaching experience with students in the schools all-day every day. During that spring students complete the action research for their Capstone Project which is then completed that second summer.

Admission

Teach for America:

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • 2.50 Minimum Cumulative GPA
  • US Citizenship or National/Permanent Resident Status
  • The online application consists of: Personal,  academic,  and/or professional information, Resume, Letter of intent

Ohio State University Secondary Math, Science Technology program:

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution
  • Minimum 3.0 overall GPA (on a 4.0 scale) in all previous undergraduate course work and a minimum 3.0 overall GPA in all previous graduate course work (may not be combined)
  • Minimum 2.7 GPA in mathematics, science, or technology content courses. 80% of the content should be completed prior to admission. (Include a plan for completing content courses, that are not completed by the application deadline) A plan document is located online at http://ehe.osu.edu/edtl/
  • Experiences working with adolescents in a learning situation
  • Official scores from the General Test of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) taken within five years of application
  • TOEFL score for international students, if required (minimum score 550 paper-based, 213 computer-based, or 79 iBT)
  • Statement of Intent: See “Application Checklist” for format and instructions, located online.
  • Three letters of recommendation (four preferred), from persons acquainted with your academic performance, your experiences with adolescents, and your potential as a teacher. Include at least two letters from professors or instructors who have had you in class. Recommendations written on letterhead stationery should be attached to the Graduate School Reference Form.
  • Resume listing academic accomplishments, paid or volunteer experiences working with adolescents, related extracurricular experiences, and honors or awards (limit two pages for fellowship)
  • The M.Ed. is a competitive program. Meeting the minimum standards does not guarantee admission. Applicants who have completed most or all of the content courses will be given preference for admission. The admissions committee also considers diversity in the range of students related to gender, race/ethnicity, and life experience.

Ongoing Support

Teach for America:
Teach For America provides professional development to corps members throughout their two-year commitments to ensure that they are set up to succeed at helping their students achieve at high levels.

Current Ohio Law:
Ohio teacher residency program, which shall be a four-year, entry-level program for classroom teachers. The teacher residency program shall include at least the following components:
(1) Mentoring by teachers who hold a lead professional educator license issued under section 3319.22 of the Revised Code;
(2) Counseling to ensure that program participants receive needed professional development;
(3) Measures of appropriate progression through the program.
(B) The teacher residency program shall be aligned with the standards for teachers adopted by the state board of education under section 3319.61 of the Revised Code and best practices identified by the superintendent of public instruction.

Ohio Department of Education:
A four-year Resident Educator program of support and mentoring for new teachers will provide Ohio educators just entering the profession with quality mentoring and guidance essential for a long and flourishing career. Each Resident Educator will be mentored by another teacher (trained for this specific purpose) within the school district for the full four-year period and must successfully meet all of the criteria in order to qualify for a professional educator license.

At a time when education in Ohio is under intense scrutiny, why would we seek to LOWER the standards for becoming a teacher?

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