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Report Calls for Fewer Regulations on Schools

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  An education think tank has issued a new paper calling on a reduction in state regulations of schools.

The Dayton-based Thomas B. Fordham Institute proposes fewer rules over who can teach a class in Ohio. It also suggest changes to the way teachers are paid. 

The report is titled “Getting out of the Way” and that’s what the school-choice advocacy group wants state regulators to do. 

It suggests doing away with seniority protections for teachers and other school staff.  It suggests dropping a teacher salary structure based on experience or education level.  Another suggestion is to hire people without teaching credentials if they have experience in a particular field. 

The institute’s Ohio Research Director Aaron Churchill acknowledges that lack of teacher training could present problems.

“The risk that’s out there is that you put someone in a classroom and they are not able to either manage a classroom well or they just don’t do well with kids," Churchill said.  "What we’d like to see is that at least the opportunity to allow these individuals to give teaching a shot.  Who knows, they may be very good – they may not be good but we need to at least expand the pool of potential hires.”

Allowing teachers without credentials is already a part of Republican backed Senate Bill 3. 

Democratic State Senator Tom Sawyer of Akron, a member of the Senate Education Committee, says that would take Ohio backwards 100 years ago “when the girl next door who graduated last year from high school is now qualified to teach in high school.”

“It’s an idea that has a kind of romantic kind of appeal to it but teachers are professionals," Sawyer said. "We want them to be professional.  We want them to [bring] a set of acquired skills to the table.”

The Fordham Institute’s Churchill says fewer regulations will allow more innovation by school officials and performance-based pay could attract more teacher applicants.