Newly Approved Ind. License Allows Professionals To Teach
By Mike Perleberg
(Fort Wayne, Ind.) – Teacher licensing requirements in Indiana are undergoing a controversial change which opponents say could reduce the quality of education in the state’s classrooms.
The Indiana State Board of Education voted 7-3 Wednesday during its monthly meeting in Fort Wayne to approve final rules for the new teacher standards known as Rules for Education Preparation and Accountability, or REPA III.
The modified rules for K-12 teachers, staff, and administrators includes the Career Specialist Permit. The permit allows for professionals with real world experience to receive a two-year renewable license for high school teaching, even if they do not possess a degree in education.
“This permit provides experienced professionals with a gateway into the teaching profession,” Dr. David Freitas, District 2 SBOE representative, said in a news release. “It empowers school boards and principles to make local hiring decisions that best fit their schools’ needs.”
At least 6,000 hours of experience in the field – say a business person teaching a business class – over the previous five years is not the only requirement for the specialist permit. The teacher must also have a Bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.0 GPA in the content area related to the subject they will teach, pass the content area licensure assessment, and complete pedagogy requirements in the first month of teaching.
Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz continued to be an opponent of the new permit. She motioned to remove the professional certification, but the motion was defeated when only board members Brad Oliver and Troy Albert joined her.
The Indiana State Teachers Association has attempted to sway the SBOE from approving the Career Specialist Permit since it was introduced by former State Superintendent Tony Bennett and Governor Mitch Daniels in 2012. The state’s largest union issued an action alert Tuesday ahead of the board’s vote.
“We believe that our students deserve teachers who are trained in areas like child development, child psychology and how to run a classroom,” the organization stated. “We believe that student teaching under an experienced mentor in a real classroom environment should be required for the sake of our children’s education.”
“ISTA opposes the adjunct permit as a step backwards in lowering standards to enter teaching. ISTA joined a coalition of leaders representing professional and parent organizations earlier this year to oppose the adjunct permit.”