“Externships” not likely to happen

A topic of fervent conversation as Governor Kasich’s new budget recommendations are released has been the idea that teachers perform “externships” as part of their license renewal process. While the details are not fleshed out, the idea would be that teachers spend a certain amount of time shadowing at a business to learn what skills are needed for students as they graduate and enter the workforce.

This was met with much consternation, on all sides, as teachers and districts wonder how they can possibly make this happen, and businesses wonder what this means for their operations as they are required to “host” teachers. On the district side, there would be a tremendous cost, in dollars and instruction, as teachers leave their classrooms and subs take over – and, while some suggested this would be a summer project, there is no way businesses could afford to accommodate all teachers in the state over the summer weeks. There are also many questions as to how teachers of varying subjects could possibly learn information that would help them guide their students. And these are just a few of the concerns with the concept.

However, as of this past week, it appears that externships could be no more than an idea, as state House & Senate leaders do not appear to be in favor of the plan. To read more, click here.

I fully agree with the premise – that both schools and businesses need to be more connected, providing opportunities for both to learn more about the other, and to develop plans to prepare our students for careers. However, I also believe this proposal would not accomplish that goal. Better options would include continuing to educate our districts and students about available careers and what is needed to enter them; providing real-world experience such as the engineering and marketing programs offered at Milford High School through Great Oaks; offering more mentoring and internship programs with local businesses; and deepening ongoing partnerships with businesses, among many other options.

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