Ohio to Retest Teachers in Struggling Schools
Still more from the ever-active teacher-accountability front: Under a provision in Ohio's new state budget law, thousands of teachers in the state's lowest-performing schools will have to take licensure tests anew this fall, according the Dayton Daily News.
The requirementapparently the first of its kindapplies to all teachers in core subject areas whose schools end up in the bottom 10 percent on the state's Performance Index, which is based on combined standardized test results. According to the Dayton story, core subject areas seem to include just about everything outside of P.E.
Proponents of the measure say it will help schools better monitor teachers' knowledge and skill levels. "Struggling schools need to be sure teachers are competent and fully capable of teaching their assigned curriculum," says Gov. John Kasich.
Critics retort that the requirement places blame too broadly on classroom educators without presenting a constructive solution to deeply rooted student-achievement problems. "It seems like a blanket approach that doesn't quite make sense," observes Sandi Jacobs, vice president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, a group which generally supports tightening teacher accountability.
Some teacher advocates also conjecture that the annual threat of retesting will make it more difficult to attract good teachers to vulnerable schools.
The Ohio Education Association estimates that it could cost as much as $2.1 million to administer tests to the approximately 6,000 teachers that would fall under the requirement. The question of who'll pick up that tab, along with other administrative details, has yet to be determined, according to a Ohio Department of Education spokesperson.