A large crowd of parents, educators and advocates packed the State Board of Education’s meeting in Indianapolis on Monday morning as the executive panel met to consider a broad package of changes to Indiana’s teacher licensure guidelines.
The proposal, known in shorthand as REPA II, has been controversial, as we’ve written. Supporters say the provision offers more flexibility in who gets licensed while still allowing schools to decide what teachers get hired. Opponents say REPA II “de-professionalizes” teaching by de-emphasizing training prospective educators receive in colleges of education.
Here are some of the public comments offered on the proposal so far:
- Derek Redelman, Indiana Chamber of Commerce: “No matter how good your pedagogical knowledge, you can’t be a good teacher if you don’t know the subject you’re teaching. The flexibility on teacher licensing is a welcome development. All that you are doing… is providing greater flexibility at the local level and allowing the pool of candidates to be expanded. All candidates must go through a hiring process.”
- Gerardo Gonzalez, IU School of Education: “In the long term, REPA II will diminish the teaching profession and make it difficult to attract the best and brightest into the teaching profession… I urge you to table REPA II until these changes can be studied.” The IU School of Education later tweeted a .pdf of Gonzalez’s remarks as prepared for delivery.
- Merry Juerling, Indianapolis parent: ”I just can’t fathom how you can have missed the point of the 1.3 [million] majority of Indiana voters voting for Glenda Ritz and her campaign agenda… One cannot logically argue that 1.3 million votes doesn’t send the message that Indiana voters are fed up.”
- Brett Oliver, Indiana Wesleyan University: “There is nothing in REPA II that further strengthens the content knowledge standards in REPA I.”
- Brent Kent, Students First: “They allow more qualified and talented individuals to enter the teaching profession.”
UPDATED, 10:30 a.m. ET, with additional comments:
- Kate Miller, Warren Township teacher: “I too am really concerned about REPA II because I find it insulting that teachers are not included in every aspect of the development of this rule, that we are constantly looking at our data, constantly trying to adjust our curriculum to students as individuals — not just test… Well-rounded teachers are important. To say anyone can teach is not true. Teaching is an art.”
- Sally Sloan, Indiana Federation of Teachers: “With the rollbacks in standards and temporary licensing, you can expect to see the cronyism and nepotism that we saw 30 years ago in public schools.”
- Shirley Wright, Indiana Middle Level Education Association: “Please table this so you get the opportunity to really study it. The adjunct teacher permit is really an insult to all of us as educators.”
- There’s an additional comment from Mark Bartlow, a Bloomfield teacher, who says he is in the classroom because of alternative certification. He spoke in favor of alternative certification, but I failed to transcribe a direct quote from him.