Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Lt. Gov. Breaks Tie On Bill Removing Superintendent License Guideline

Brandon Smith / IPBS

Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann

A tie in the Indiana Senate forced Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann to step in to cast the deciding vote Wednesday on a bill that removes requirements for district superintendents to hold a license.

It’s the first time in eight years the lieutenant governor has had to intervene in such a way. IPBS statehouse reporter Brandon Smith has more on the bill:

As it passed the House, the bill would no longer require school superintendents to have a superintendent’s or teacher’s license. The Senate added a requirement that superintendents have at least a master’s degree.

Ellspermann says school boards should be able to hire the best candidate, even if that person doesn’t have an educational background.

“We have a great example right now in President Daniels doing a great job at Purdue and we want the best people for those jobs,” Ellspermann said.

But Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg, says superintendents need a background in certain subjects such as school law.

“It makes you wonder how somebody that came, for instance, from the business world without any school law in their background,” Leising said, “how they’re going to manage their population at their school without having some liability issues?”

The bill now heads back to the House, which can consent to the changes or send the bill to conference committee for the two houses to negotiate their differences.

Retired educator Vic Smith — a longtime statehouse watcher — added this:

Sen. Pete Miller presented the bill as a change to let the local school board decide who should be their superintendent without requiring a licensed superintendent…

This, of course, has been an extremely controversial bill among school administrators. Sen. [Tim] Skinner, [D-Terre Haute], derided the bill for implying that “anybody can do this job” and that “licensing and experience are no longer a good thing.”


  • Karynb9

    So we can declare that President Daniels has done a “great job” at Purdue after only 2.5 months of holding that office? I mean, I’m not saying he’s doing a horrible job…but I’m just pretty sure that we shouldn’t hold him up as “Exhibit A” when it comes to evidence that unlicensed administrators without educational backgrounds will do a great job.

    I always just remain hopeful with things like this and REPA II that school boards and administrators will continue to value things like educational training and traditional educational licensure when it comes to the hiring process. I guess I’m just not sure what “demand” it is that we’re trying to “supply” with laws like this — who out there in the educational community has been clamoring for superintendent candidates who don’t have licenses???

    • Hoosier mom

      The school boards should be looking for the best candidates for the job. Period. That doesn’t automatically mean they have are licensed in the educational system. Smart people are smart people – if they’ve shown success in other fields there is no reason to think those skills can’t carryover to the school systems. I’m tired of the union mentatlity that “no one else can do my job”. Regarding REPA II… I’m all for it. Do I want an education major with some math teaching my child algebra or a math major with a course in teaching? If you truly want our children to UNDERSTAND concepts and ideas, the teacher needs to be experts in their field. When are people going to realize this? I don’t mean to put down traditional teaching degrees, but not going in depth on subject matter is one of the reasons are educational system stinks.

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