Proposed federal legislation would allow teacher licenses to translate state-to-state

INDIANAPOLIS – We all want the best teachers for kids. Some new legislation proposed by Rep. Andre Carson (D-Indiana) may make that possible.

If the Interstate Teaching Mobility Act is successful, it will allow a lot more flexibility for teachers and schools alike.

As it stands right now, if you’re looking for a teaching job in Indiana, you must have an Indiana-specific teaching license.

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It can be costly and takes time to get certified to teach in a new state, which is why many teachers end up teaching in the same state for decades.

The idea of the Interstate Teaching Mobility Act is to cut down on that frustration by allowing states to recognize teaching licenses from other states as valid.

States would have to opt in to the process and agree on certain standards.

A law like this could help with Indiana’s teacher shortage.

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"What it also will do is for us to recalibrate and look at how we compensate teachers,” Rep. Carson said. “If we're willing to pay teachers more, we won't have to worry about them leaving our state to do other things."

The bill could benefit Indiana especially if it offers competitive pay to teachers.

But the Indiana State Teachers Association says it’s a bit concerned that might be a challenge for school districts: It’s already hard enough as it is to find funding.

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But otherwise, the group says it supports Rep. Carson’s proposed legislation.

“I think teachers will be pleased to know someone is finally talking about, ‘Can we or can’t we share licenses across states?’” Indiana Teachers Association President Teresa Meredith said. “Being able to have that flexibility would be good for them in terms of looking for employment, especially looking for that first teaching contract.”

Another big plus to the possible legislation: The amount of jobs that open up to people who live in border towns.

“If you live near a state line and there’s nothing immediately around you, it gives you some flexibility to be able to cross over,” Meredith said.

We’ll  be keeping an eye on the legislation and let you know when and if it passes.
 

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