INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
The State Board of Education has given its initial approval to an amended
proposal that would allow college graduates with a B average in any subject
to earn a K-12 teaching license in Indiana.
Superintendent Glenda Ritz tried during Wednesday’s meeting to kill the
proposal - the most contentious element of teacher licensing changes
championed by her successor, Tony Bennett - but her motion failed on a 6-5
the proposal would allow untrained teachers to lead a classroom without
understanding childhood development or classroom management.
But the board
addressed some of the objections by creating a career specialist certificate
that would allow professionals, such as those from technology or the arts,
to apply to teach in high school. Those license applicants would have at
least 6,000 hours of real world experience and undergo teaching training
upon taking the job, The Indianapolis Star reported.
The changes were
approved on an 8-3 vote, with Ritz and two other board members opposing
Brad Oliver, a
board member and Indiana Wesleyan University dean, said he was “struggling”
with the licensing proposal and said it appeared to clash with a law
requiring Indiana education colleges and programs to be rated on how
effective their graduates are as teachers.
“We are the last
gateway to make sure that anybody that is in front of a child has had at
least modicum similar standards,” he said. “I am not saying they have to go
through a full program to get into the classroom ... but how do we ensure
quality, and what are the quality controls that people in front of our
students are well prepared?”
Other board members
said the flexibility would enable local districts to find new talent and
hire whom they want.
“I like opening up
the field. I think it is opening another option, and no one has to do this,”
Marian University President Daniel Elsener said.
The new teacher
licensing rules were proposed by Bennett, a Republican, but faced wide
opposition from public education advocates. The proposal was approved during
Bennett’s last meeting as superintendent in 2012 despite a request to wait
until Ritz, a Democrat elected that November, took office.
Those rules were
not implemented and another round of public hearings was required last year
before the changes could be approved.
licensing provision approved Wednesday is part of a broader licensing
package that the board must vote on as a whole later this year.