Thousands of Indiana teachers are scrambling to begin renewing their professional teaching licenses before new rules state lawmakers approved this spring for the renewal process take effect July 1.
The impending modification advanced quietly through the Indiana General Assembly and was passed in April. But it didn't grab the attention of most teachers until the Indiana Department of Education sent out guidance in early May on how to meet the new requirements, spurring teachers to action.
From May 1 to June 2, the department says 22,760 teachers had professional growth plans in process, compared with just 514 plans in process during the same time last year, The Indianapolis Star reported .
Jennifer McCormick, the state superintendent of public instruction, said she expects those numbers to climb through June.
"It's going to be kind of a mad dash to the end," she said.
The change requires teachers who are renewing their license through a "professional growth plan"—the most common renewal path—to complete 15 hours of professional development related specifically to their community's workforce needs. That includes available jobs and skills needed by local employers.
Teachers need 90 hours of professional development for their license renewal, which comes every five years for most teachers.
Any teacher who starts the process after July 1 will have to log 15 workforce-related hours, so teachers have been racing to beat the clock.
Nearly one-third of all Indiana teachers have now started that process, according to an update last Monday from the state's Department of Education. That will give those instructors years before they'll need to comply with the new law. Many are hoping for a change between now and then.
"We've been answering a lot of calls, a lot of emails," said McCormick. "There's a lot of confusion and frustration."