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Teachers Union Opposes Changes To Teacher Licensing

The State Board of Education is considering new requirements that would allow people to teach without having a teaching degree.

Math Teacher Writing on Chalk Board

Photo: cybrarian77 (Flickr)

Teacher licensing requirements would change under new rules the State Board of Education is considering.

Groups opposed to a teacher licensing permit that would require no teacher training ahead of time say the proposal is dangerous and poses grave concerns about teacher preparation.

That was the message at a press conference the Indiana State Teachers Association held today to oppose the proposed changes to teacher licensing rules.

The State Board of Education last week moved forward with a proposal to create a Career Workplace Specialist permit. It would allow individuals to teach in high school without a teaching degree.

Applicants would be required to have a bachelor’s degree and a 3.0 GPA, pass a test in the subject area they want to teach, have at least three years of workplace experience and take pedagogy training after they’re hired.

Indiana State Teachers Association President Teresa Meredith says the proposed permit is a pathway to putting unprepared people in front of a classroom

“Not everyone can do what teachers do and being smart enough to pass a test is just not enough,” she says. “It takes deliberate, purposeful, skilled work and it takes preparation and practice under watchful eyes.”

State Board of Education spokeswoman Lou Ann Baker stresses that the permit is optional and allows schools to fill positions of need.  And she notes a previous version did not include any teacher training requirement, which prompted the Board’s creation of the Career Workplace Specialist permit.

“Loudly and clearly, the call for pedagogy training was heard,” she says. “It was heard by the Board members, it was heard from folks in the public testimony, and it is included in the existing rule language that was adopted by the Board.”

Baker says the new permit is modeled on existing teacher licensing programs that allow people without teacher training to get a permit while taking pedagogy courses. But Meredith says those existing programs rule out a need for the new permit.

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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