Gov. Eric Holcomb released his 2018 agenda Wednesday, outlining a number of possible changes to education policy for the sake of better workforce alignment.
One facet includes increased licensing flexibility for educators who teach in STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, and math – and Indiana State Teacher’s Association President Teresa Meredith says that proposal lacks specificity.
“There’s already quite a bit of flexibility, so I’m anxious just to know more,” Meredith says. “I want to hear what that actually means, how does he define that.”
Meredith says she’s hopeful any legislative changes will let educators obtain STEM certifications without compromising child development training requirements. Current law allows districts to obtain an emergency teaching permit for experts in a specific field who want to go into education – but they still need to learn how to teach the material in a classroom full of students.
She adds that a bigger concern for schools is the number of qualified special education teachers. She said the current state of special education could be described as in “serious crisis.”
But in terms of Holcomb’s 2018 goals, she says training teachers in trauma-informed instruction is another major need throughout the state.
“We believe the state needs to make this part of the opioids crisis plan,” she says. “In this whole opioid addiction conversation, there has to be a conversation around what’s happening to the children and how we’re training teachers to be prepared for that in the work we do in our classrooms.”