The state is considering a slew of changes to how teachers are licensed in Indiana that would impact not only existing teachers, but also future teachers.
The proposed changes, which are being referred to as REPA II -- Rules for Educator Preparation and Accountability -- would make it possible for someone to teach without taking courses on teaching.
Dr. George Van Horn, director of special education in the Bartholomew County school district, told RTV6's Kara Kenney that he is worried about the proposal.
"My concern is why are we doing this at all," Van Horn said. "They've removed the requirement to take course work (on teaching), and you can add a license just by passing a test.
"We've all had that person over the years that really knows their content and really may not be a very effective teacher. I believe you have to learn how to be a teacher, and that's what's being eliminated by just passing tests to get licenses."
Van Horn and Columbus East High School teacher Rose Maudlin would like to see data that shows why the proposed changes are necessary.
"There's no evidence in the proposed rule that a person has to know anything about how to teach children," Maudlin said.
The Indiana State Teachers Association is concerned because the state just implemented new licensing rules less than two years ago.
"We haven't even gotten to full implementation of that yet, and now we're looking to completely change all of that," said ISTA Vice President Teresa Meredith. "We don't even know what impact those changes will have on student learning, and now we're wanting to make additional changes."
Indiana Department of Education spokesperson Alex Damron said the proposed changes would increase flexibility for local schools.
"We're really looking to provide local school leaders increased staffing flexibility and to also align the educator licensing process with new practices in educator evaluations," Damron said.
Additionally, Damron emphasized that the changes would also require prospective teachers to spend more time in the classroom before becoming a teacher.
"We're actually creating quite a rigorous process when it comes to entering the teaching profession," he said.
The State Board of Education will hold a hearing about the proposed changes on June 21 at 9 a.m.
Input on the proposed changes can also be submitted online until June 29 at 4 p.m.: Speak Out About Proposed Teacher Licensing Changes
The board is expected to make a decision on the licensing changes in August.
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