In the latest iteration of the Ohio Budget Bill, language has been added that would eliminate the Resident Educator Program that requires new teachers to jump through some hoops in order to maintain their license, and their career. The most talked about piece is the costly Resident Educator Summative Assessment, or RESA, a series of tasks that are submitted and graded by a third-party vendor, Educopia, that is contracted by the Ohio Department of Education at a cost of $5,000,000 per year. In a lean budget year, the House might be looking to save money wherever they can.
The changes are described by Ohio’s Legislative Service Commission (LSC) as follows:
- Eliminates the Ohio Teacher Residency program, a four-year, entry-level program for educators that must be completed in order to qualify for a professional educator license issued by the State Board of Education.
- Maintains the resident educator license and the alternative resident educator license, which are both four-year, renewable, entry-level licenses that an educator must hold prior to applying for a five-year professional educator license.
- Specifies that individuals currently participating in the Ohio Teacher Residency program must not be required to complete the program or its components, and the State Board must not require any applicant for a new educator license, or for renewal of an educator license, to complete the Ohio Teacher Residency program or its components as a condition for issuance of the license.
The LSC also describes the financial impact on the state and on schools/districts [emphasis-added]:
Fiscal effect: Decrease in ODE expenditures of roughly $5 million each fiscal year from Fund 4L20 line item 200681, Teacher Certification and Licensure, due to elimination of the Resident Educator Summative Assessment (RESA), required in the third year of the residency program. Decrease in ODE administrative expenditures. May decrease school district expenditures since districts would no longer be required to supply mentor teachers and perform other responsibilities associated with operating the program at the local level.
There is no explanation about what new requirements beginning teachers might be required to complete instead (teachers with five-year licenses are required to complete 180 hours of professional development every five years to renew their license), so be on the lookout for what the legislature might surprise us with.
If you wish to share your thoughts about this proposed change, you can contact your representative through the Ohio House website at http://www.ohiohouse.gov.