Only time will tell if the Indiana State Board of Education made the right decision on September 3 to allow people without a teaching degree to teach in high schools across the state. The Board met in Ft. Wayne on Wednesday along with Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, Glenda Ritz.
It a final vote of 7-3, the Board approved a license of a career specialist permit. Those applying for the new permit would have to be enrolled in an approved teacher preparation program. They must also hold a college degree in any subject and have had at least a B average. After application they would also have to pass one exam and have documented 6,000 hours of professional experience.
Schools would not be forced to hire those qualifying under the special permit, but could bring them on-board to fill positions.
It was explained that the new permit would bring expertise in different fields into the classroom.
The original idea was initiated by former Superintendent Tony Bennett. Bennett was defeated in his bid for re-election by Ritz n 2012. However, the vote to move ahead with the special permits was opposed by Ritz, Board member Brad Oliver and many educators. Ritz and Oliver argued that there would be accountability problems in that there would be no way to track those teaching under the permit.
They also pointed to other teaching permits including a “transitions to teaching” permit and “emergency” permit are already in place. Schools can hire a candidate with any college baccalaureate degree to teach for one year is there is a need.
During the meeting that was held at Ivy Tech Community College, many educators called the proposal an “experiment” on children and argued that teachers need to be trained in child behavior before taking over a classroom. John O’Neal, ISTA, said removing the pedagogy requirements if wrong. Pedagogy is the method of teaching. He said, “Content mastery is not enough to ensure quality instruction in the classroom.”
Others questioned why highly qualified “experts” from professions would seek out positions in teaching where the pay would be less.
Indiana governor Mike Pence must sign off on the proposed permit by December 31 under the rules called REPA III, or Rules for Educator Preparation and Accountability.
Carl Anders Correspondent