Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Northwest Indiana Districts Say They Still Want Candidates With Teaching Degrees

Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

State Superintendent Glenda Ritz asked the State Board of Education to table the proposed REPA II teacher licensing rules until after she took office. The board declined her request.

Late last year the Indiana State Board of Education approved changes to teacher licensure requirements that allow candidates with bachelor’s degrees and good grades to become educators. But Carmen McCollum for The Times of Northwest Indiana reports districts aren’t rushing out to hire adjunct permit holders:

Valparaiso Community Schools Superintendent Mike Berta said a person can possess a high level of knowledge about a subject and that knowledge can serve that person well. However, for that knowledge to benefit others through teaching and learning, one must possess certain skills and talents, he said.

“These skills and talents include but are not limited to empathy, developing relationships, identifying learning needs to differentiate instruction and student guidance,” Berta said. “Absent these skills and talents in the teacher, the probability is low that a successful teaching and learning experience will happen.”

“I am concerned with political actions that may minimize the importance of the (teacher-student) relationship in the future,” he said.

MSD of Boone Township Superintendent George Letz said he would not hire anyone without all the formal education and training he deems necessary to be an effective teacher.

“There are opportunities to observe and teach in a classroom before a student gets the degree,” he said. “The content knowledge is very important, but you have to be able to differentiate the instruction based on the child’s ability.”

The changes to teacher licensure requirement — known as “REPA II” — passed in December under the guidance of former state superintendent Tony Bennett over the objections of Glenda Ritz. Ritz remained critical of the new rules when she took office in January.

We’ve written before about alternative paths into the classroom and the value of an education degree. We’ve also looked at the training adjunct permit holders still need before they can teach in Indiana.


  • Central Indiana Grad Student

    This is just a thought, but for most universities the people teaching the classes are graduate assistants who are working on their Master’s degrees … they do not have teaching degrees and they are teaching the courses for the college students to become teachers. Then the actual professors have Masters of Ph.Ds but no requirement is made that they have a ‘teaching degree’ to teach college students who are in college to become teachers. Then …. I hate to say this, but many teachers who are licensed to teach math, chemistry, physics and other sciences sometimes, barely passed the course they are teaching, but they are licensed to teach it becausse they passed their State Teaching Licensing Test.
    For most Physics and science graduates, they have worked as Graduate Assistants or Teaching assistants in their departments. They are teaching, but do not have a requirement to be licensed teachers. So I would think if they could pass a test to get a license to teach, they would be as qualified to teach or may be more so than those who are teaching. Just FYI, my high school Chemistry teacher was the Home Economics – Food and Clothing teacher. Really! She messed up once and we had an explosion that almost knocked a student out a nearby window. Really.

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