(The Center Square) – Ohio’s teachers union believes a bill in the General Assembly that would reduce requirements for veterans to become teachers would also reduce the quality of education in the state.
A bill introduced in the state Senate would allow school boards across the state to hire military veterans as teachers and be deemed to hold a teaching certificate.
The veterans would have to have spent at least four years of active duty and been either honorably discharged or medically separated and meet other qualifications, but not the same training and licensing requirements as other teachers.
“It is absolutely critical that Ohio’s policymakers take meaningful action to address our state’s growing teacher shortage, and the Ohio Education Association appreciates the unique skills and experiences our nation’s veterans could bring to the classroom, but any measure that lowers training and certification standards for teachers would lower the quality of education for our students,” said Ohio Education Association President Scott DiMauro. “This is not acceptable. OEA urges our lawmakers to tackle the systemic issues contributing to our state’s teacher recruitment and retention crisis – many of which are discussed in the OEA Educator Voice Academy cadre’s recent recommendations – to ensure all Ohio students can receive the world-class education they deserve.”
Veterans would also have to have a letter from a former commanding officer that says the individual is qualified to teach; have earned a master training specialist certification; served as a training officer or lead instructor; served as a noncommissioned officer, warrant officer or senior enlisted person; or demonstrated a mastery of a subject area to be taught determined by the school board.
School boards would all assign a mentor teacher to the veterans, and the mentor would be required to hold a teacher’s license obtain through regular methods.
House Bill 361 was introduced by Rep. Frank Hoagland, R-Mingo Junction, who was the key sponsor of a new Ohio law that reduced the training requirement from one month to one day for school boards to arm teachers.