I’ve had some productive conversations with my far-right State Representative (self-described Libertarian) lately about working on a budget correction bill to remove the teacher testing provision.  It is likely the only item he and I will agree on, but I’ve offered to provide all the support I can if he can introduce the change, and since he is on the Education committee it seems like a good fit.  While he seems to be mostly put off by the ridiculous price tag, his belief in less government, not more, is certainly contrary to the law’s overreaching requirements.

Recently, he has engaged a variety of other officials in conversation in an attempt to gather information in addition to everything I have written on the topic here on Plunderbund.  Funny enough, when I sent him links to all of the posts, he replied, “When do you have time to put this together?”  Dude, you voted for this.

In the course of his conversations, he encountered Barbara Mattei-Smith, now assistant policy director for education in the Governor’s office, and formerly an associate director at the Ohio Department of Education.  You might also recognize Mattei-Smith as the representative from Governor’s office who “got mixed up” and stood up a group of teachers waiting to provide input on a new school funding formula.

Just yesterday, my representative told me that he “got into a minor discussion/disagreement with Barbara from Kasich’s office . . . She argued that testing works in Massachusetts.

Well, that is unacceptable.  In addition to sending him factual details I had posted in the past, I also uncovered additional information from Massachusetts that further debunks her (Kasich’s) claim that such a retesting program has ever existed.

But simply providing him those details felt hollow — I should probably convey this information to her directly.  And copy the House Education Committee members, and the Democratic leaders of the House and Senate.  And Politifact (why not?).

Ms. Mattei-Smith,

I would like to respectfully request that you cease the spreading of misinformation regarding the Teacher Retesting provision of HB153, especially your repeated statements that a similar program has had a measurable impact in the state of Massachusetts. That is patently false – no such program exists.

In truth, Massachusetts implemented a policy in 1998 that requires prospective teachers to pass a licensure test (currently the MTEL) to prove their eligibility to obtain a license. The state of Ohio implemented such a provision in 1991, SEVEN years prior to Massachusetts. Ohio currently requires a prospective teacher to successfully pass multiple PRAXIS II exams to qualify for a teaching license, just like the Massachusetts policy. I wrote an article about this on April 20 of this year – http://bit.ly/eLIOpo

This information is easily verifiable through the Massachusetts Department of Education and the MTEL (Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure) website, both of which confirm that the tests are neither designed for nor appropriate for such use.

First, from the Massachusetts DOE MTEL page (http://www.doe.mass.edu/mtel/):

Who is required to take the tests?
Candidates seeking educator licensure in Massachusetts in either the Preliminary or the Initial level are tested through the MTEL program (an “Initial” educator license is equivalent to a “Preliminary with Advanced Standing” educator license as defined in G. L. c. 71, § 38G). They must pass both the tests of Communication and Literacy Skills and the Subject Test, where available, for the license they are seeking. This requirement holds for all candidates for licensure, including classroom teachers, district and school administrators, and district and school professional support personnel, who apply on or after September 1, 1998.

Next, from the MTEL Registration Site (http://bit.ly/qeCveV), this very important detail:

3. PURPOSE OF TESTING: I understand that the tests are administered for the purpose of licensure only and are to be taken only by individuals either enrolled in a state educator preparation program or seeking educator licensure. I certify that I am taking the test(s) for which I have registered for the purpose of educator licensure and for no other purpose.

The two sites contain a wealth of factual details about the current licensure testing process and its history. At no point has Massachusetts adopted a policy requiring fully-licensed teachers to retake these licensure exams, so no evidence could possibly exist that would show any positive outcome from such a program.

I suspect the root of the false information you have been fed can be found in the this 2008 Op-Ed that discusses MTEL reform – to make it more like Ohio’s requirements. http://bo.st/q8Flfk

Finally, there is no research base to support any claims that Governor Kasich’s Teacher Retesting program is an appropriate reform measure, the claim the Massachusetts has implemented such a program is either misinformation or outright lying, and even Ohio’s current teacher exam provider, PRAXIS (via ETS), emphatically opposes the use of their exams in the manner in which you have been continually promoting them.

This information is from the ETS manual: Proper Use of The Praxis Series™ and Related Assessments:

Improper Uses of the Praxis Series and Related Assessments

As noted above, proper assessment use is defined as acceptability of the intended use combined with evidence to support the intended use. Two specific examples of misuse are listed below but are not inclusive of all possible instances of misuse.

  • Employment Selection or Hiring. The Praxis program believes it is inappropriate for a state, district, school, or other local agency to differentiate among candidates who have all met or exceeded the state’s passing score on a Praxis Series test or related assessment for purposes of making a selection or hiring decision. These assessments were designed and intended to be used for credentialing, not for rank-ordering candidates or for making decisions that otherwise presume a predictive relationship between performance on these assessments and performance on the job.
  • Employment-Based Decisions Affecting Fully Licensed and Employed Educators. The Praxis program defines a fully licensed educator as one who has met all state licensure requirements and, therefore, is not practicing under a probationary, emergency, or provisional license. The Praxis program believes it is inappropriate for school districts or other local agencies to use The Praxis Series and related assessment scores for terminating fully licensed educators, determining salaries, promoting or demoting educators, or completing performance appraisals/evaluations.

If you require further assistance or resources as you seek to repeal this provision to correct the administration’s error and save Ohio’s taxpayers $2.2 million next year, please contact me as soon as possible.


If you would like to contact Ms. Mattei-Smith, her email address is Barbara.A.Mattei-Smith@governor.ohio.gov

And you know, I am being sincere.



  • Greg I’m glad your on our side! When you were asked when do you have time to put this together you should have thrown it back at him as to why doesn’t he have the time  when you do.

  • Anonymous

    In my reply to him I told him I was dedicated to the effort and said “I can lose an entire weekend getting this together (but I’m just one guy – imagine if we had a whole department . . . . oh.)”

  • Carywill

    I just sent an email to Ms. Mattei-Smith and received an automatic reply that she will be out of the office until October 26th.  Huh?

  • Anonymous

    That’s the “rest of the story” so to speak.  I can’t wait until the work week begins and we can check it out.

  • And they complain about teachers not working enough!

  • I got the same message. 

  • Amyvav

    If it wasn’t for you guys a lot of our fight would just flop. Thanks for taking so much time and effort! Your ability to retrieve, find, remember, procure…. whatever – the relevant information every time is invaluable!! I click the site daily, often a couple of times, and recommend your posts to my colleagues, especially when the fight gets exhausting (also daily!). Keep it up! No one’s going to drag us out of this mess but ourselves. We certainly can’t count on the idiots and turncoats who were elected.

    Vote! Call! Write!

  • Thanks Amyvav! We really appreciate you reading and commenting. Comments like this make our work worthwhile.

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    Dayton Daily is running articles on SB5 and the repeal effort.
    The anger towards teachers is unreal. I guess folks want them to work at poverty level. Just how many jobs out there require the college educaion certificates –and — the continuing education that teaching does. Usually once you pick a career and have your required schooling –you–are done.
    Then your education comes from experience. ( just like teachers need expeience to be effective teachers.)
    Amazing to me the gall of folks to believe teachers dont deserve to be paid to teach their kids all day long.  I guess every working person out there is working everyday for that $30,000 a year job all their lives retireing at 67 and still making that $30,000 a year.
    Get real — we all want more money for every year we give to an employer. We all think we are worth more money than we make and most of us do not have that money tied up in education that teachers do.
    My advice — IF you think they get paid to much YOU become a teacher or better  yet  teach your kids at home. 
    Yes there are not so great teachers but then there are not great officers, waitresses, sales people, cashiers, and so on.
    If you think you can contribute a more effective school  — then do it.
    AND NO I am not a teacher! but my child had a learning disability and had it not been for dedication of teachers she would have been lost in the system.

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    PS  I find it ironic that the same folks — senators, house reps and the governor  who think they are over paid and so on, are the ones wanting them to get more education.
    Merit raises are a joke — you only get them if you are the bosses favorite. Every one who works can name at least once when someone got a merit raise YOU thought they didnt deserve. In the real world we all call them kiss ups, brown nosers etc. If you are honest –you  know this to be true. How would you like it if every 2 years  you were tested on your job — maybe a job you have done for 10 years — only to be told you havent kept up– so you are out and that new person is sitting in your chair.
    Merit raises are 1920 

  • Anonymous

    The fact that Massechusetts doesn’t retest teachers falls on the deaf ears of the ususal suspects in the Legislature . They seem to have their marching orders and are determined to push their agenda, facts be damned.

    Thanks for reminding us again that elections have consequences and that part of our present problem lies in those who don’t bother to register or to vote. The voter turnout in 2010 was pathetic. We suffer the consequences because of it.

  • Greg Soper
  • Anonymous

    The Repubs depend on untrue anecdotal horsecrap, and zero in-depth analysis, to lull the low information voter (and some media-types too) into thinking they know and have a grasp on the issues.
    While you need a bumpersticker slogan too, you also need the type of analysis and myth-busting that Greg provided above.

  • Thanks for the information. If your representative does his job then why doesn’t he know about this?

    If he’s a Libertarian, why are we paying his salary?

    Because he is a hypocrite and wants less governement for you and me and more for him and his friends.

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!