As we dig deeper into the budget, more and more crazy stuff keep surfacing and much of it directly and negatively impacts teachers.

Greg Mild has identified one egregiously nasty section (starting at line 51883) that could require tens of thousands of Ohio’s teachers to retake up to 5 certification exams each year, costing them $6,000,000 out of their own pockets.

(C) Each year, the board of education of each school district in the lowest ten percentiles of performance index score shall require each of its classroom teachers teaching in a core subject area to register for and take all written examinations prescribed by the state board of education for licensure to teach that core subject area and the grade level to which the teacher is assigned under section 3319.22 of the Revised Code.

And the results of those tests will be used in “deciding whether or not to continue employing the teacher.”

According to Mild:

the lowest-performing 10% of school districts employ 24,655 teachers. Approximately 18,864, or 76%, teach in a core subject area. Each teacher would be required to “take all written examinations prescribed by the state board of education for licensure to teach that core subject area and the grade level.”

Depending on the subjects and grade levels, teachers will be required to take between 2-5 exams each. Averaging this by grade level results in a total of 56,592 total written examinations.

At what cost – literally? Educational Testing Service (www.ets.org) charges an annual fee of $50 and each exam costs $90 for a grand total of $6,036,480 flowing out of the hands of Ohio’s teachers

It’s important to note that none of these tests is available online, there are very limited dates on which the tests can be taken and there are very limited testing locations (only three in central Ohio). And since the state does’t finalize Performance Index Scores until August teachers won’t even find out if they need to retake these tests until they return to work in late August.

That means 18,864 teachers will be logging on to the testing company’s website to book their exams – the first of which isn’t held until mid-November. And because of the limited testing locations and the number of tests that have to be retaken, many teachers won’t get their final set of test results back until April 17. Which means poorly performing school won’t even be able to start reviewing teacher performance until the school year is nearly over.

Kasich will defend this addition to the budget saying he wants to help the kids and improve schools, however the Ohio Department of Education fully admits there is no relationship between classroom success and passing these tests: According to the ODE these “tests are not designed to predict performance on the job nor can passing the licensure examination(s) guarantee good teaching”

I think we can all agree we want to help improve the lowest performing schools, but this testing requirement is the perfect example of one of Kasich’s ‘reforms’ which have nothing to do with improving schools or helping kids and everything to do with punishing teachers in every way possible.

 

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