Last week, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported on Kasich’s teacher retesting law that was passed through his budget, HB153.  This was the first second time that the eye-popping story of the punitive law against teachers had been published in one of Ohio’s main newspapers (The Columbus Dispatch posted a story the day after we created the list of affected teachers).  It’s an appalling law so we would like to congratulate the Enquirer for getting the scoop on the other rags around the state.  With that effort, surely they have earned their self-appointed byline.

If you’ve been following our site for the past year, you’ll find little new information in this article that starts nearer the end of this larger story, but there are a few key items that are worth dissecting from this article:

“It’s unclear how much teacher re-testing will cost. The education association has estimated it at $2.1 million a year to test some 6,000 teachers. But Ohio’s education department says it has not yet picked the tests. It’s also unknown whether Ohio will pay for the tests or make districts and charter schools foot the bill.”

First, those estimated numbers originated here at Plunderbund, NOT through the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).  The department has never publicly announced the number of teachers nor the projected cost, though we released BOTH of those details in August and even received a tacit acknowledgement from Superintendent Heffner about the list of teachers (on video).  In that same video from late August, Heffner clearly passes on the cost of paying for those test to local districts when he says,

“Districts need to prepare for the payments, the costs, of these.” Stan Heffner, 8/29/12

On the very same day that Heffner was recording this video, August 29, ODE put out this internal memo (emphasis added):


You may have seen a series of blogs and articles from the weekend on the retesting of teachers in the lowest performing 10% of schools in Ohio. While the bloggers [Plunderbund] have created their own list of teachers, no such list exists at ODE. The message below was sent to the Dispatch this afternoon in hopes that clarification may be provided to the misinformaiton [sic] that is being circulated on this topic. ODE will continue to work with OEA and OFT to help publish accurate information. Both have received inquiries to date.

Michael [Sawyers, ODE Interim Deputy Superintendent]

The final statement from the Enquirer Exclusive that needs addressed is this one, “Ohio’s education department says it has not yet picked the tests.”  That’s actually not a problem since it’s not ODE’s choice.  As can be found repeatedly in the Ohio Administrative Code, individuals seeking a teaching license must successfully pass “an examination prescribed by the state board of education.”  The ODE website clearly delineates this authority on their website detailing the current teacher licensure exams,  so I can’t imagine why the ODE would somehow try to usurp the authority of the State Board of Education.

The Teacher Retesting law, ORC 3319.58 is also clear about who determines these tests:

“…take all written examinations prescribed by the state board of education for licensure…”

If you are interested in learning more about the year-long history of the teacher testing law from these uncredited-and-apparently-very-hard-to-find-posts-even-if-someone-quoted-in-the-article-had-already-mentioned-the-blog, I’ve created an anthology of our writing and research on this topic.  You’ll find that it’s much more nuanced than the ENQUIRER EXCLUSIVE.  And I highly recommend watching the video of Stan Heffner from the September 3 post.



Kasich’s budget forces tens of thousands of teachers to pay $6 Million in retesting costs

April 13, 2011
As we dig deeper into the budget, more and more crazy stuff keep surfacing and much of it directly and negatively impacts teachers.


Kasich’s “New” Teacher Testing Program: Straight out of 1987!

April 20, 2011
Last week, I posted about Governor Kasich’s budgetary plan to require all core subject teachers in low-scoring school districts to take licensure tests.


Interim Superintendent of Schools Hides Personal Interest, Deceives Senate

May 29, 2011
We’ve already posted articles about the Teacher Testing provision that is still hanging on in the budget bill.  A brief update: the current version would require that ALL of the core subject area teachers in the lowest performing 10% of school districts across the state will be required “take all written examinations prescribed by the state board of education for licensure to teach that core subject area and the grade level.”


Budget hearing testimony against unnecessary and punitive teacher retesting

June 1, 2011
Plunderbund contributor Greg Mild just finished testifying in the Senate on the budget bill, specifically on a provision that would require all of the core subject area teachers in the lowest performing 10% of schools across the state to retake the Praxis II tests that apply to their teaching assignment.  As Greg points out, the exam creators specifically indicate against using the exams for this purpose.

Plunderbund files ethics complaint against schools superintendent

July 11, 2011
On May 29, we exposed a significant conflict of interest involving Interim State Superintendent Stan W. Heffner and his involvement with House Bill 153, Ohio’s budget bill.


[Exclusive] Teachers on ODE’s List for “Retesting”

August 27, 2011
The Ohio Department of Education has released the State Report Cards for schools and districts (though school report cards have incorrect state data that has yet to be corrected) and that means the names of the teachers who will be required to take the Praxis exams is also available. I’ll be posting the list of 349 schools and over 5,900 teachers on Plunderbund later today.


[PB Exclusive:] Teacher Retesting list revealed – 6,333 thrown under the bus

August 27, 2011
[3:30 pm – REVISED: Our original post excluded some math teachers – sorry for the omission. We have updated the title and the list of teachers to reflect their inclusion.  New list has 334 pages and total projected cost of tests is $2,187,050]


Good News & Bad News about Retesting Teachers

August 28, 2011
Our post yesterday about Kasich’s budget bill provision for Retesting Teachers generated quite the buzz and a load of questions.  I intentionally did not discuss many of the details in that post knowing that most readers wouldn’t have read much beyond the lists of teachers and schools (I wouldn’t have, either).  So today, I want to offer some good news, bad news, and answer some of the questions asked by readers about this legislation.


[VIDEO] State Superintendent says Teacher Retesting list is real

September 3, 2011
Last Saturday, based on recently released school data from the Ohio Department of Education, we calculated and published a list of the 6,333 teachers and 349 schools who would be impacted by the new Retesting Teachers law initiated by Governor John Kasich in his state budget bill (HB153).  The reaction to our post was swift.  Before the end of the day, over 2,000 people had accessed The List.


Governor’s office still spreading lies about teacher retesting

September 18, 2011
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.


Governor’s office responds about Teacher Retesting; we correct them…again

October 1, 2011
On September 18, we posted a letter that we sent to the Governor’s office, specifically Barb Mattei-Smith, requesting that she “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.”


Massachusetts confirms that Ohio’s Education Director repeatedly provided false testimony

October 9, 2011
The Governor’s education director lied to me.  No big deal, right?  Well, before he lied to me, he lied to the Senate Finance Committee, but that was after he lied to the House Finance and Appropriations Committee, and after he lied to a roomful of state superintendents, and after he lied to all of Ohio in the FY2012-13 budget.  Here’s the details of the lie and why you should be concerned.


Contact your Ohio Representative today and request a repeal of Ohio Revised Code 3319.58 through the upcoming budget revisions.