Ohio’s Gov. John Kasich wants to require factory internships for teachers to promote jobs for students
John Kasich (Ohio.gov)

Ohio teachers could be required to serve internships with local businesses to renew their licenses under a new budget proposed by Gov. John Kasich.

These "externships" -- or, in other words, job shadowing -- would require teachers to gain "on-site work experience" with a business or chamber of commerce as part of their continuing education requirement for license renewal, reported the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The internships were suggested late last year by the governor's Executive Workforce Board in hopes of establishing better ties between schools and their local business communities.

The director of Kasich's Office of Workforce Transformation said businesses often are unable to find qualified workers, and the externships are intended to show teachers what skills are needed in the job market.

Ryan Burgess, the officer's director, said the experience would help teachers discuss careers with their students.

"Our students think they have to move away to get a job because they just don't know what jobs exist in their backyard," Burgess said he's heard teachers say. "If teachers know what kinds of jobs do exist in their local communities, perhaps they can communicate that to their students."

The State Board of Education would outline the requirements -- which could be as simple as an hour-long tour of a factory or as involved as serving an in-depth internship, reported the Cincinnati Enquirer.

A local business or organization might offer to pay teachers for their time, the Enquirer reported, but that's not how job shadowing typically works.

The president of the state teachers union isn't against the idea, in theory, but would prefer they enter state policy as recommendations or best practices instead of as requirements.

Melissa Cropper, head of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, which represents about 20,000 teachers, said some regions of the state might not have enough opportunities for educators to meet those requirements -- which she said wouldn't necessarily help all teachers.

"We're suggesting a kindergarten teacher get an externship at a business," Cropper said. "Is an externship really going to add to the quality of what you're doing in the classroom?"

The Ohio Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, opposes the proposed license requirement as "unnecessary."

The budget provision was first spotted by the public education advocacy blog Join the Future, and individual teachers reacted strongly against the proposal.