CLEVELAND (WJW) – State lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow military veterans to become teachers without any teacher license requirements.
State Senator Jerry Cirino, of Kirtland, is co-sponsor of Senate Bill 361.
“It deals with the shortage of teachers but it also recognizes that there are vets out there who have tremendous training and background,” said Cirino.
According to Cirino, the bill would essentially drop most of the requirements for veterans to become teachers, including a degree, license or background in education.
“What it takes to be an officer in the military, even to teach in the military, is completely different than what it takes to teach children,” said Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper.
Cropper said the bill is a shortcut to getting more bodies in the classroom.
“But it’s a shortcut that doesn’t take into account the art and science of teaching. It says any adult can come into the classroom and do it,” said Cropper.
Ohio Education Association President Scott DiMauro offered potential solutions instead.
“Provide competitive pay and benefits, attract more people into the profession and address working conditions and support systems,” said DiMauor.
Ohio’s bill is very similar to legislation in Florida that gives qualifying veterans a five-year teaching certificate and allows them to work as teachers while they earn their bachelor’s degrees.
This comes just months after state lawmakers passed a bill that cuts the college degree requirement for substitute teachers.
“We are not requiring school systems to do this. We are simply modifying revised code on the licensing question for K through 12,” said Cirino.
Cropper added that Ohio already has a ‘Troops to Teachers’ program, which helps servicemen and women in the process of obtaining their teaching certificate and finding employment as an Ohio teacher.