Educators say new teaching license ‘demoralizes’ profession

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – Local educators said a new teaching license passed by the State Board of Education is hurting the teaching profession.

“I think it deprofessionalizes us,” English teacher and Tippecanoe Education Association president Mary Eisert said. “It makes it seem as if anyone can do it.”

In a seven to three vote the State Board of Education passed the Rules for Educator Preparation Accountability, a set of requirements for teaching licenses. Under the requirements there is a “career specialist” license that allows people with a bachelor’s degree and 1600 hours of work experience over the past five years to apply for a teaching license.

“I think it’s another way of demoralizing the profession,” West Lafayette Community School Corporation Superintendent Rocky Killion said.

Killion said people will miss out on crucial courses to learn how to teach and classroom experience.

“This whole idea that someone can just walk in and start teaching is ridiculous,” Killion said. “It’s as ridiculous as me passing an examine and becoming a brain surgeon.”

“I wouldn’t be prepared to teach if I hadn’t spent time really teaching kids through my student teaching,” Eisert said.

Lafayette School Corporation Superintendent Les Huddle said the upside may be their expertise in a subject matter, but that does not outweigh the lack of knowledge of teaching methods.

“You’re putting an untested individual, again while they may again have content knowledge, it doesn’t mean that they can differentiate instruction and reach that gifted student that sits on one side of the class and reach that special ed student that sits on the other side,” Huddle said.

So what are the chances of getting a teaching job in Lafayette or West Lafayette with the license? Slim to none.

“I think it would be very difficult for a school corporation to advertise we are hiring non-certified teachers,” Huddle said.

“Before I would ever consider someone with an emergency license I will knock on every education door within the United States and across the world to make sure that I have a high quality, well-prepared teacher in the classroom,” Killion said.

Killion said it comes down to people without an education background making decisions about the profession.

“Those who can’t teach legislate, so because they don’t understand education, because there is this prevailing belief that we know what’s best for students and educators I believe this is what you get when that type of mentality exists,” Killion said.

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