Last October, we wrote about the exorbitant cost of obtaining a Reading Endorsement to meet the requirements of teaching the primary grades under Ohio’s Third Grade Guarantee law.  At the time, we projected the cost to be over $17,000.  That figure may have dropped a bit as universities have been scrambling to find a way to address the thousands of panicked teachers seeking to obtain the endorsement, but will still cost thousands of unnecessary dollars.

We have a message for those panicked teachers: Stop it.

Senate Bill 21 has moved on to the Ohio House with another, significantly less-expensive, alternative added in — a standardized test for teachers to prove competency in teaching reading.  It is fair to assume that this test will be similar, if not identical, to the test teachers will be required to pass after completing the reading endorsement coursework, though with the bill still in the legislature’s hands, ODE has not begun to act on the new provision.

Until September, that test is a Reading Praxis II test  (Code 5204) that costs a mere $139 to take, much less than the thousands of dollars one would pay for the endorsement ON TOP OF the test.  Merely passing the test would qualify the teacher to be the reading teacher under the new provision currently in SB 21.  In September, the state is switching from the ETS-owned Praxis tests to new Ohio tests created by another education-testing conglomerate — Pearson.  While costs are not yet available, it appears that the new required test for teachers will have two components, and we might project that to mean two tests, instead of the one.  If our educated guess is correct, teachers would have to pay around twice the current amount — approximately $278 for the two tests.

You don’t need to be a mathematician or economist to understand that $278 is less than $17,000.  We also need only do a quick internet search to find plenty of test-prep materials for the current Praxis test.  Putting these together leads us to calculate that a teacher can take the test numerous times (61 or so if fees stay as predicted), allowing for studying and repeated retests, until a passing score is achieved at the same cost as paying for a reading endorsement (which doesn’t guarantee that you’ll pass the test either).  And let’s be honest, if you can’t study and pass this test after 2 or 3 tries as an existing teacher with many reading courses on your transcripts already, perhaps you should consider teaching something other than reading anyway.

At any rate, the irony of meeting the minimum score on a standardized test to demonstrate proficiency for a state-mandated process shouldn’t be lost on any of us.  And certainly don’t pay thousands of dollars in a panic just to get an endorsement that you won’t be needing once the House adopts SB 21.

Not that taking continuing education graduate courses is a bad thing, but I don’t know many teachers with an extra $17,000 laying around.

Just sayin’.

  • duckmonkeyman

    More tests. But you miss the point. Why should reading teachers even have to take these tests? The Praxis is a joke as is most of the RE program. The most effective aspect of teacher training is pairing with an experienced mentor. Teachers have enough BS distractions.

  • One of the main purposes of having teachers take those tests is to make even bigger profits for the testing companies. Follow the money…

  • It doesn’t take a mathematician to know that $139 times two is a significant amount of cash to prove that you know how to read and to coax from students their interpretation of what you (and they) read. Yet another insult, although less expensive than seventeen grade, to teachers who are provably literate and already trained in the techniques of teaching.

  • I graduated with my Bachelors with the reading endorsement and then when I got my master in Ed it was with a reading specialization and I redid my reading endorsement on a masters level at Kent under Dr. Rasinski a well known reading specialist. Guess I was smart in all that if in nothing else.

  • Dale Russell

    I had to take Pearson tests in Florida to finish my reading endorsement there, the fee structure is set up so that the state collects the money and then pays Pearson a flat rate per test. So lets say my reading endorsement test cost 185 dollars from Pearson the state of Florida tacks on another 100 bucks to raise revenue….fun huh? and the law down there has the test (electronic, has to be taken at Pearson testing site) as a pass/fail. And the fun part of this is that I have been in Ohio for 2 years and ODE still cant tell me what I need to do to transfer my reading credential (they sent me a renewal of my Ohio English 7-12 professional). If any recent grades are thinking of taking their talents to south beach….get ready to spend 360 contact hours for ESOL training and another 120 hours for reading (if your K-6 elementary, 9-12 English…other content areas get away with 60 hrs for both) The districts used to pay for these but not any more.

  • dmoore2222

    Please, no offense but who would want to teach anymore in the State of Ohio? We have a governor and legislature that’s hostile toward public education in general and teachers in particular, an unconstitutional funding system, and a dysfunctinal Ohio State Board and Dept. of Ed. Good god! Isn’t teaching hard enough without all of that?

  • John W.

    100% correct, Think. For-profit education publishers are writing the legislation.

  • Those for-profit publishers, like Pearson and K12 Inc., are ALEC members, of course!

  • jmerry7

    Also, look out for Pearson. They’re doing to higher ed what the OGT and standards have done to public ed. See this article from Rethinking Schools on the TPA process:

    So, colleges of education, field professors, and cooperating teachers don’t know enough to license a teaching candidate? Student teachers need to pay $300 to have Pearson certify them as proficient? Boo.

  • The first time I did the reading endorsement I had to take a specific Praxis test for it. It was not cheap either.

  • Ashley

    Question….I have my masters Prek-3rd…I also have my 4/5 endorsement to teach fourth and fifth grade….If I took these two tests and passed, without taking the reading endorsement classes, will I then be able to still teach up to fifth grade and the reading endorsement will be added to my license? Just trying to make sure I’m understanding right, because I don’t want to have to pay more than I have to in order to still be qualified to teach up to fifth grade…

  • Jack Sizemore

    Its a joke. All about money.

  • beth p

    What is the latest with this? Is it still necessary to take the classes or is the test now an option?

  • Jaime

    I have a question. I only have my Bachelors degree in grades 1-8. Can I still only take the test or do I have to take the coursework because I don’t have a Masters?

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