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Licensing board OK, but not only need

The Ohio Senate is currently considering a measure that would appoint a board of education professionals to decide who will get licenses to teach in Ohio.

Thursday, September 21, 2000

The Ohio Senate is currently considering a measure that would appoint a board of education professionals to decide who will get licenses to teach in Ohio.

The idea behind the proposal is that professionals should decide who has the qualifications to be in a classoom – not a board appointed by the a state board of education.

The Ohio Department of Education argues that the board that sets the curriculum and direction of Ohio’s schools should be the one that determines who is qualified to make sure that the state’s education mission is carried out properly.

Teacher qualifications have been the topic of conversation since questions have been raised about proficiency test scores and the quality of the education students receive.

There is no question that teacher competency is a factor in making sure schools work.

But there is a tendancy to blame teachers for all the ills of public education.

The teachers’ union’s proposal concerning licensure in Ohio is a direct result of that concern over misplaced blame. No teacher wants someone who has been out of a classroom – or who has never been in one – deciding what qualifications he or she needs or to pass judgment on the job he or she is doing.

But there is also a need to set some standards for teachers. While the majority of these professionals care about their students and the job they are doing, there are many others who simply refuse to develop their skills and who have no business in a classroom.

A board that licenses teachers that operates with an eye on quality and possibilities tempered with the realities of dealing with a new society, new attitudes and ever-changing environments and resources could be a benefit not just to Ohio schools, but to the profession as well.

Then, Ohio can start working on the rest of the challenges that threaten education – parental disinterest, plummeting tests scores and children who would rather play computer games or PlayStation than pick up a book.