Governor at odds with lawmakers over Ohio teacher certification program

CLEVELAND - Ohio Governor John Kasich is at odds with state lawmakers and two Ohio teachers unions are in disagreement with one another over a four year program Ohio teachers are required to complete before receiving their professional certification.

Kasich vetoed a measure last week that would have eliminated year three of the Resident Educator Summative Assessment (RESA) program. It’s the four year, post-degree program Ohio teachers must complete before getting certified. Lawmakers and many teachers argued that year three needed to go. 

It’s in year three that teachers are required to take a summative assessment.

The first two years of the program are focused on mentoring. The final year is focused on exploring leadership opportunities. 

“It is a cumbersome process, it is very detailed and involved, it involves tasks that the teachers have to do in addition to their regular work load and teaching,” said Deborah Paden a Cleveland teacher and the Educational Issues Chairperson for the Cleveland Teachers Union.

Teachers often complain of spending 60 hours or more working on the assessment, which is according to Paden, redundant and tedious.

Paden supports RESA but thinks the assessment needs to be overhauled.

“They already have their college degree, they already have their license and this was just like another piece that they needed to do to get to their five year professional license, so I can see why they were frustrated,” she said.

Ohio lawmakers agreed and voted to remove year three. Lawmakers argued removing year three would save the state millions of dollars and remove the burden from teachers. The Governor didn’t agree, though, and vetoed the bill last week. Kasich, in a statement with the veto, said year three is an important part of the teacher certification process.

“We supported the veto because we want the mentoring; we want the support for our teachers in the classroom,” said Mark Baumgartner, Director of Professional Issues at the Cleveland Teachers Union.

Not only is the Governor at odds with lawmakers, but the two largest teachers’ unions in the state are at odds as well. The Ohio Federation of Teachers wants to keep RESA as is and supported the governor’s veto, while the Ohio Education Association wanted year three gone.

“Part of the RESA exam that is good is that it forces teachers to self-reflect and look at their craft and this is what we want all teachers to do is look at how they practice in the classroom,” said Baumgartner.

According to Baumgartner, Cleveland spends $1.2 million a year implementing the RESA program. Lawmakers this week tried, but failed to overturn Governor Kasich’s veto.

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