People with a bachelor’s degree and work experience in any field will soon be able to teach that field in Indiana secondary schools after passing a content test.
The State Board of Education voted 7-3 Wednesday to approve teacher licensing legislation that included a proposal called the career specialist certificate, according to a release from the SBOE.
The certificate allows potential instructors with a bachelor’s degree and a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale to teach secondary education when they pass a content exam related to their field.
David Freitas, who voted in favor of the legislation, said in the release that the permit would allow school districts to hire a broader range of applicants based on their local needs.
“This permit provides experienced professionals with a gateway into the teaching profession,” Freitas said. “It empowers school boards and principals to make local hiring decisions that best fit their schools’ needs.”
Board members Brad Oliver, Troy Albert and Glenda Ritz, superintendent of public instruction, voted against the proposed legislation, according to Indiana Public Media.
Albert is the Board member from District 9, which includes Monroe County.
The permit has been widely criticized by teacher groups such as the Indiana State Teacher’s Association, which claims the license will allow under-qualified instructors to teach because license holders are not required to take teacher training before starting in a classroom.
ISTA president Teresa Meredith said she is worried career specialists will not be able to pass on their knowledge to their students unless they understand how students behave and how children’s minds work.
“It’s important to know your stuff, but it’s also important to know how kids learn,” Meredith said.
To mitigate this, there is a clause in the legislation requiring certificate applicants to take teacher training to learn about classroom management and instruction methods within a month of beginning teaching.
New instructors would also be required to pass a content exam in the area in which they plan to teach and have 6,000 hours of work experience in that field.The Rules for Education Preparation and Accountability, or REPA I, was proposed in 2010 when the responsibility for licensure rules shifted from the Professional Standards Board to the State Board of Education.
REPA II, which amended REPA I and first suggested the adjunct teacher permit, was not voted on in time for it to come to fruition, according to Indiana Public Media.
The vote would have to have taken place before March 13, 2013, in order for the rule change to take effect.
The career specialist permit was added to the REPA III this May, replacing the proposal for adjunct teacher permits.
The adjunct teacher permit would have been good for five years instead of two like the career specialist permit, according to the State BOE website.
The adjunct permit did not require 6,000 hours work experience. Both permits required applicants to earn a 3.0 GPA in college studies of their chosen field.
Individuals who become teachers under REPA III would also be required by the legislation to complete their teaching pedagogy requirements beginning in their first month of teaching.