State OKs rules to license teachers without education degrees

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The State Board of Education approved new rules Wednesday for teacher licensing that make it easier for college graduates without education degrees to get jobs in Indiana classrooms.

The board voted 7-3 to approve the new standards, which reduce requirements for "career specialist" permits for such applicants.

Supporters of the new rules say they will make it easier to attract people with expertise in areas such as math and science to classrooms. But teachers unions and others say that the new rules will reduce the quality of education.

Everyone who testified on the issue Wednesday spoke against the changes, which take effect immediately.

John Jacobson, dean of the Ball State Teachers College, argued that similar efforts to lower standards in other states, including Texas, did not successfully attract more teachers.

"It did not result in any more qualified candidates," Jacobson said.

Former Gov. Mitch Daniels and former Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett began the push for an overhaul in 2009 in part as a way to bring in alternative teaching groups such as Teach for America.

Wednesday's vote came as a group of Democratic activists ended a separate roughly year-long legal battle against the Republican-appointed board members.

Lawyer Bill Groth announced that the board had agreed to pay $15,000 in legal fees as part of a settlement approved Wednesday. The board members also agreed not to violate the state's open meetings law in the future.

Plaintiffs alleged the board violated Indiana's open meetings law last year when members sought to move the calculation of the "A-F" school grades to the General Assembly in the wake of last year's grade-changing scandal. Democratic Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz originally filed the lawsuit against the other board members, but the attorney general successfully argued she did not have standing to bring a suit against other state officials without his approval.

The lawsuit is one of many skirmishes that led U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to decry Indiana's "deep, deep dysfunction" among education leaders.

"It's unfortunate that a frivolous lawsuit like this one wasted so much time and energy that would have been better spent focusing on the needs of Indiana's students," Democratic board member Gordon Hendry said in a statement.


  • Not trying to be an English teacher
    *interested, not intersted **concerned, not considered
  • What are the rules?
    Does anyone commenting on this actually know what the new rules are? I would like to know as I do not have a teaching license but am intersted in teaching high school business courses. Also, I am guessing that these new rules mostly apply to high school, where a specialist rather than a certified teacher could be very beneficial for students. As someone in a previous post mentioned, college professors are not always "teachers", but that doesn't mean you can't learn a lot from their real world experience. If you are considered with whether they will do a good job or not, have the students fill out evaluations (like colleges do).
    • Really?
      If they're soooo trained...why is there a gazillion $ business based on helping children learn what they should be taught in school (at a hefty $ to taxpayers). Not to mention the private training for doing well on standardized testing. We learned in a boring classroom with around 40 kids, chalkboards, books, discipline and dedicated teachers. This generation will be very challenged.
    • Professionals need standards
      Teachers need to be treated like the professionals that they should be with all of the rigor that that entails. The process of training a professional to do their job shouldn't be short circuited. Professionals such as doctors, lawyers, electricians, engineers, and plumbers to name a few are all required to have a certain level of proficiency. We should make teacher training incredibly rigorous and make the pay commensurate with that rigor to attract those who may be interested in a subject area and but not willing to take a lower salary. Also, teaching a single class as a guest lecturer is vastly different from teaching multiple classes for the entire year. To compare the two is absurd. Its like saying that I replaced an outlet so I can be an electrician. Teaching is incredibly hard to do well and doing it well is what we owe to our kids.
    • Parent misunderstood
      Parent, it appears you haven't worked in corporate America. I have and I deal with people from different socio-economic classes, different languages and different countries. You are making a big assumption about corporations. Most are pretty diverse and you end up dealing with a wide range of people daily. I even work with some that have come from other countries. So to make the assumption that someone from corporate America doesn't have this experience, makes your statement silly and biased. There are good teachers and bad teachers that have been through the best educational systems in this state. I have guest taught at my kids' high school and I work in corporate America. My kids have told me that some of their classmates still talk about that experience and how much they enjoyed my teaching. Based on your assessment, I have no business being in a classroom at all when I could bring some value to kids with my corporate experience.
    • Math teachers needed!
      I'm 60 and am presently teaching (or should I say re-teaching) my 5th child Algebra 2. My first two had the same teacher I had in school and needed little help from me. My last 3 have said to me, "I wish you were my teacher." I spent 3 hours on Labor Day with my son working through his math. Please do not say other parents or college grads would lower the standard.
    • Certificates are Valueless
      The certificate is not as important as the quality of the instruction. We've probably all had certificated teachers who were uncaring, incompetent, or both. Conversely, I had college and grad school professors who were truly outstanding educators, but they didn't have teacher certificates. Call me cynical, but my hunch is that most, if not all, of those who spoke out against this are members of the teachers union, which abhors the idea of competition. Finally, if the certificates are so important to assuring quality in education, it seems odd that Indiana's students are not performing better. What have we got to lose?
    • Fighting
      As you teach every day, do you do it to a group of children, parented by those who are from a different socio-economic class than you? How about children from another race? Or children from another country who can't begin to speak English. Are your experiences diverse enough to reach children who have grown up differently than you? I'll take a teacher whose experiences include working in the trenches over someone who has been sheltered in corporate America anyday.
    • Why?
      Why do this? The teaching market is already saturated, evidence from other states concludes this will not attract more qualified applicants, and all this does is anger the teaching establishment. Bad move by the Board.
    • Trained?
      Many of us teach everyday, just not in a classroom. Not having a teaching certificate doesn't make us incompetent.
      • Good and bad
        This could easily bring in individuals who have had lifelong careers involving math, music, science, business, publishing, etc. People who want to give back but don't want to go to a year or more of school to get a "teacher" certificate. The flip side is it could allow unqualified people into the system who have no idea how to handle a group of kids. I'd like to see the first, though. I taught a programming class for a year (permanent sub status) a while back and loved it and would consider doing it again if the circumstances allowed for it.
      • What??
        Well this seems like a terrible idea. It doesn't matter how knowledgeable you are on a subject, if you aren't trained to TEACH it, then how does that help anyone?
        • Excellent!
          Our child has amazing HS teachers. 2 are from the private sector and just as wonderful as the others. The IndyStar article reads that teacher are educated to: be fully trained in child behavior and other specialties. Therefore, your little boy who can't sit perfectly still (shorter recesses, women teachers) wll be prediagnosed by the teacher. This evolves into an ADD/ADHD diagnosis and prescription. Wake up DADS (lots of moms fall to this pressure)!
        • What are the changes?
          Can you update the article to outline what the changes are and/or what the new requirements would be in order for someone without a teaching degree to become a teacher now?
        • Fantastic News
          This is great. If you don't think it's great you're the problem. I'll never understand the you're not a teacher argument. Last time I checked there isn't a major to become CEO but somehow we have successful businesses. Teachers need to get off their high horse and understand they aren't the only ones who can do the job.
        • Fighting
          Married to a teacher; parent to 2 students who were successful in college thanks to the education path of their certified teachers. If I still had kids in school, I'd fight placing them in a classroom with someone who didn't take the teacher prep courses. What is this board thinking implementing a suggestion from a past superintendent who made new rules as he went along?

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        1. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

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