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 ( 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.

  • No – he wouldn’t include an unfunded mandate?

  • Beca117

    Wow!!! Words cannot even be printed to express what is flowing thru my head! Just shaking my head at the idiocy coming out of Columbus.

  • MattO

    I love what you do at Plunderbund but in this case I don’t understand your numbers. According to the article, there’s a $50 annual fee and each exam costs $90. With a maximum of 5 exams, that comes to $500, not including any travel expenses, lost time, etc. That’s bad, but it’s a far cry from $6000 out of each teacher’s own pockets. Am I missing something or is this an error? (And keep up the good work!)

  • Anonymous

    I was told there would be no math….

  • Sorry man. I totally screwed up the headline. Trying to conduct an interview, write a blog post, solve three critical problems at work and eat a bowl of soup at the same time has its consequences.

  • I’d be interested to know if any of Emperor Kasich’s buddies have any stake in this. Like, do they own the company under contract to print material, a la Bush and his No Child’s Behind Left corporate profiteering bonanza? We should bird-dog this and see where the money flows.

  • Anonymous

    Except that this doesn’t solve the problem. As demonstrated by the fact that the Ohio Dept. of Education says that passing the test doesn’t demonstrate profeciency.

  • Random Thoughts

    All of the seminars and workshops that I’ve been to about AYP and Value-Added have been sponsored by Battelle (out of Columbus). I believe they also handle the printing of the Ohio achievement tests. My colleagues and I have often wondered just what kind of strings Battelle pulled to corner the market on testing in Ohio.

    In addition, through their Battelle for Kids division, we’ve had representatives from the company come to our school during staff development days. Their purpose seems to be to try and convince us how much better off we’d be if our school was run like a business and if we churned out “products” instead of human beings.

    I’d imagine they might have something to do with this, too…

  • gmild

    Thoughtful accountability isn’t being debated on this post. The administration is throwing a handful of darts at the wall and seeing if anything sticks. This re-testing method is absurd. Teachers in a bottom 10% district could simultaneously earn the governor’s annual stipend award for student performance ($50 per student) AND be forced to retake these tests every year.

    Is that still called accountability? Or is that now called ignorance?

  • Real Get Real

    Not necessarily. The bottom 10% of schools can easily have exceptional teachers. Have you been in one for any length of time? The whole merit argument assumes that the profit motive and the mythical “free market” always work in all situations. This is simply the whole GOP approach to reform as a simple-minded, chain saw approach when a scalpel would be more effective. Sad part is that they never bothered to work with or ask the people on the front lines how to improve education or manage this “crisis”. Instead, we have micro-management from the Statehouse by people who really have no idea what they are doing.

    Beware of unintended consequences, particularly when caused by poorly written and hastily passed legislation. The Repubs complain ObamaCare was crammed through, seems like SB5 is worse in that it is simply vindictive political payback with little regard to actual evidence or facts.

    BTW, when can we get accountability for Wall Street? Now it seems even Goldman was guilty and hasn’t had a single exec indicted.

  • Anonymous

    I only know one thing for sure – as a mom of an elementary school teacher, inundated with children who cannot speak, write, etc. and care less if they ever do – and this is 3rd grade — I have never seen teachers working so hard. I’ve never seen anything like it. There is no accountability on the part of students or parents to comply with teacher’s requests for the return of documents or homework, etc. This bureaucratic nonsense regarding government testing is ludicrous. All teachers are forced to teach to the test – and there are so many more things these gifted people can teach the children. I have so much to say from my observance of classroom chaos – without consequence, it would take all day. Pupils refusing to do the work because they simply don’t want to, mothers asking my daughter to pick up their child who oversleeps because mom is tired (what???) and when I ask my daughter why these students aren’t just given zeros or fail – she says the school districts can’t have 23 year olds in the third grade. How sad. Somebody somewhere needs to talk to a lay person like me – who has been totally unaware of this until I sat in and witnessed it for myself.

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