SBOE Approves Rule To Allow Professionals To Teach HS Classes

Posted On May 15, 2014

By Mike Perleberg

chalkboard-apple-chalk-teacher-school-classroom-01252012-small.jpg(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Indiana high schools may soon be able to hire people to teach if they have no education training, but do have real world experience in a particular subject field.

The State Board of Education approved the modified the career specialist teacher certification Wednesday on an 6-5 vote, despite an effort to kill the proposal from Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz. The new certification is part of a larger package of teacher licensing changes called Rules for Education Preparation and Accountability, or REPA III, that could be approved later this year.

Under the new rule, high school administrators could hire applicants who have no formal teacher training, but do have at least 6,000 hours of professional work experience in the subject they will teach. The applicants must be college graduates with a B average.

For example, the adjunct license would allow a professional artist without formal education training to teach art or a career computer engineer to instruct an HTML class.

A criticism of the career specialist license has been that those teachers will manage classrooms without any education background. SBOE District 1 representative Tony Walker motioned to specify that professionals hired by a high school immediately receive classroom instruction training to be completed within a two-year window. That amendment passed on an 8-3 vote.

The non-traditional teachers will still be subject to the same performance criteria as regular teachers, including being subject to administrative decision-making and an annual evaluation.

The career specialist license was first proposed by former Indiana state superintendent Tony Bennett, a Republican. It earned approval in Bennett’s final meeting before leaving office – having been defeated by Ritz, a Democrat – in 2012. However, that set of rules was never implemented.