A provision in Gov. John Kasich’s budget proposal would require Ohio teachers to complete externships with a local business as part of the license renewal process that generally occurs every five years.
Kasich believes that too many high school graduates are pursuing expensive college degrees that don’t prepare them for realistic jobs, and that the externships would help involve businesses more in education.
“Are our schools preparing our students in a real way?” the Republican said at a recent event honoring innovative schools. “Never let the education get in the way of learning.”
Kasich contends that teachers gaining “on-site work experience” with businesses or local chambers of commerce would help better serve students for more 21st-century careers. He also has proposed awarding high school credit for students’ work experience and placing three businesspeople on each school board.
Melissa Cropper, president of the Ohio Federation of Teachers union, said she thinks the externship idea could be a beneficial option for some teachers but she’d rather see it considered as a recommendation or best practice, not a mandatory requirement.
“Education policy over the past decade has been highly focused on college readiness and has overlooked the potential on career readiness,” Cropper said. “We definitely need to take a deeper look on how to get students ready for (both) college and careers.”
Cropper said the concept of teachers partnering with the business community has potential, but she is skeptical that each region of the state would be able to provide enough opportunities to facilitate that broadly.