Ohio House Bill 33 creates ripples of concern at UF

By Cassie Arnett, ArnettC@Findlay.edu

In July 2023, House Bill 33 was posted, by November 2023 a lawsuit was filed against the state of Ohio and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine for implementing the bill. Within this bill is a license change that started to solve one problem but has now become a cause for greater concern in educators and students at the University of Findlay. This potential change can affect UF’s College of Education, if implemented.

The new change proposed in House Bill 33 would expand teaching licenses from PK-fifth, fourth-ninth, or seventh-twelfth to PK-eighth and sixth-twelfth.

“We are not sure how to teach future teachers with this change,” Kerry Teeple, Assistant Professor in the College of Education, said.

This new change in House Bill 33 was meant to solve the issue of Ohio schools not having enough middle school teachers. The implementation of the change has created concerns from educators, as they will have to change the way they teach future educators. Professors will also be releasing teachers in the workforce with less specialized licenses and less education on how to communicate with certain age groups of students, according to Teeple.

If this change is implemented, UF’s College of Education would potentially need to rebuild its whole curriculum and focus more on educational content courses for future teachers, rather than courses that allowed them to understand and communicate with students at stages of development.

“It’s already hard to teach all science material Pk-5th and now it would be even harder to add in the complicated sciences of fifth-ninth. How will the education department teach teachers all this material?” Teeple said. “Which teachers would teach this, especially when these teachers are certified in early education and middle school education and will now have to teach out of their range.”

Teeple feels that by broadening the license range for future teachers, The Ohio Department of Education and Workforce (formerly Ohio Department of Education) is asking teachers to be less educated on certain subjects.

“Kids develop differently at certain ages and it’s a disservice to students to ask the teacher to be so broad,” Teeple said. “This doesn’t allow teachers to understand the students as well as they need to.”

In addition to concerns from professors, current students at UF are also worried about what this change could bring to future educators. Current junior in Primary Education at UF, Nora Zirm, is among those concerned.

“I learn a lot about student behavior and their home lives in primary education, as well as how they develop,” Zirm said. “New educators won’t have time to focus on this thoroughly. I don’t think this will be beneficial for future teachers.”

In November 2023, a lawsuit including seven plaintiffs from the State Board of Education in Ohio was filed against Governor Mike DeWine. This lawsuit was filed in hopes of stopping the implementation of changes in House Bill 33. Currently, the lawsuit has halted these changes from occurring until at least 2030.

While this change has yet to be implemented and may not be for a few years or even at all, current UF professors are already brainstorming how to rebuild their curriculum to satisfy these license changes and best prepare future students. Current students at UF are also preparing for what effects these changes could have on future teachers, as well as asking if this change will satisfy the educational needs of future generations.