Nestled within the General Assembly’s final budget plan as sent to Governor Kasich on June 28 was an under-the-radar provision that would have eliminated Ohio’s teacher residency program. This didn’t get a lot of coverage. Neither did Governor Kasich’s veto, which saved the program.
The limited coverage was likely a symptom of unfamiliarity: Unless you have direct contact with this program, you probably don’t know much about it. Yet the legislative change would have had a significant impact on the experiences of new Ohio teachers. Let’s examine what the residency program is and why the General Assembly should look to fix it rather than continue to seek its elimination.
Back in 2009, Governor Ted Strickland’s education reform and funding plan proposed both a teacher residency program and a licensure ladder to ensure that only “top-quality” teachers would stand in front of Ohio pupils. In response, lawmakers created a residency program based on the idea that new teachers need robust support and training and that far too many schools were leaving their newbies to sink or swim.
Ohio now implements a ladder licensure system with an embedded residency program. In general, the licensure system...