2017-03-15 / Opinion

Send Governor, Legislature Back To School

John Kasich, Ohio governor, doesn’t like the Ohio education system.

From his support for charter schools to him saying, “Never let education get in the way of learning,” his disdain is obvious.

He recently developed an idea to require educators to complete 40- hour “externships” with businesses as a requirement for license renewal. Teachers could see what businesses need from public school graduates and be informed about available job opportunities.

Ohio already requires much of its teachers. They must complete continuing education, constantly updating their skill sets. During the school year, many teachers eschew the typical 40-hour work week, and spend their own time and money on supplies for their classrooms.

Those who think teaching is a cushy nine-month-a-year job are just… wrong.

Kasich is already getting backlash for his idea, with suggestions that he be required to spend 40 hours in schools.

We say it should go one step farther. Not only Kasich should do a two-week externship in public school– so should all members of the state legislature.

The externships should be completed in a wide range of public schools, large and small, urban and rural, rich and poor, who have received grades A-F from the state. Maybe one week in a school that receives an A or B, followed by one week at a school that gets a D or F.

Elected officials could learn from the best schools– see what they’re doing right, and not subject them to cookie-cutter rules. State officials also need to see how hard it is to run a school in even the best conditions, especially with the unfunded mandates they like to pass on.

And officials can learn what really happens in the schools that perform poorly, where some students just try to survive. The teachers can walk the elected officials through the community surrounding the schools, on gang-infested streets, to students’ homes where there’s little or no food in the refrigerator, no heat, and little to-no parental supervision.

No state-mandated test accounts for that.

It’s time for our elected officials to get out of their ivory towers and get real. Recognize the fact that 24 annual state-mandated tests don’t solve anything, stop piling on more requirements that don’t result in any more learning, and let the educators do what they do best. Teach.

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