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COLUMBUS — Two Democratic lawmakers want to send Gov. John Kasich back to school, with homework to boot.
Reps. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) and Kent Smith (D-Euclid) are calling their legislation the GET REALS Act, with requirements that Kasich spend 40 hours — that is, five eight-hour days — in public schools with teachers, janitors or food service workers.
The governor would have to provide a report to the legislature afterward about the experience.
The requirement would be in place through the end of next year, meaning Kasich would be the only governor affected by it.
Smith said the point of the bill is to “send the governor back to school… get him that exposure that he lacks, based on his own business and political career….”
Kelly added, “I think this is a great opportunity for the governor to see the challenges that teachers face as they teach our kids every day in communities throughout the state. Quite frankly, a lot of teachers put in more than an eight-hour workday, so five eight-hour days seems like Gov. Kasich might be getting a little bit of easy schedule compared to the teachers throughout our state.”
While Kelly and Smith said the bill has bipartisan support (one Republican apparently has signed on as a co-sponsor), the legislation likely isn’t going anywhere fast, since it would require passage by the Republican-controlled House and Senate and Kasich’s signature to enact.
Instead, it’s a statement against some of the governor’s policy positions, including a provision included in his executive budget proposal that would require teachers to complete “externships” at businesses as part of their licensing requirements.
Kasich has spoken repeatedly about the need for schools to better prepare youngsters for future careers; requiring teachers to shadow business people is one way to expose them to the state’s work force needs.
“While the governor is focused on ensuring that Ohio students are prepared for the rapidly changing work force of the digital economy, it’s more than disappointing that some look first to play partisan politics,” Emmalee Kalmbach, Kasich’s spokeswoman, said in a released statement in response to the bill announcement by Kelly and Smith. “The governor is grateful to business, education and legislative leaders that are part of his executive workforce board for making thoughtful recommendations for the state budget that create stronger connections between business and education such as asking business leaders to engage with teachers as part of their five-year license renewal process.”
Kasich’s externship proposal has not garnered support from Republican or Democratic lawmakers.
Marc Kovac covers the Ohio Statehouse for Gatehouse Media. Reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.