"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Get Rid of Bad Teachers by Lowering Standards

The Deprofessionalization of Teachers Continues

The Indiana Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (IACTE) has sent out a letter describing the proposed REPA (Rules for Educator Preparation and Accountability) changes.

The "reformers" consistently call for states and school systems to get rid of bad teachers, yet Tony Bennett, Indiana's Superintendent of Public Instruction and the new poster-boy for the national reform movement, supports these changes which will lower the standards for teachers in Indiana.
REPA 2 Awareness Letter

May 3, 2012

On April 30 2010, significant changes both to teacher and administrator licensing and to teacher preparation requirements in the state of Indiana went into effect; changes which the Indiana Department of Education approved in January, 2010. Both the Department of Education and teacher preparation programs throughout the state are in the midst of implementing the changes. In fact there are a number of changes approved, such as the testing requirements for new licenses that have yet to be implemented; target dates are January and September, 2013. Amidst these changes, the Department of Education has proposed a new set of rule changes without reviewing the results of the 2010 first set of Rules for Educator Preparation and Accountability (REPA). The timing and nature of this new set of proposed rules adds to the considerable instability that already exists in the state with respect to policy changes affecting teachers and public schools.

At the January 2012 meeting of the State Board of Education, Dr. Bennett and his staff presented REPA 2. Dr. Bennett stated that the purpose of these proposed rules is to provide administrators and schools with flexibility in teacher staffing. However, many professionals in public education have expressed serious concerns with the proposed rules, rules that will significantly lower standards for teaching and administrator licensing in the state.

Currently, there are plans for individuals to be able to provide public comment regarding these changes, and a public hearing in Indianapolis. The intent of this letter is to advise you of this new set of proposed rules and urge you to comment on the public record as provided by law. You are encouraged to share this letter among your colleagues and/or membership to advise them of the potential impact of these proposed changes.

Some of the proposed changes include:
  • Creation of adjunct teaching permits, for which the only criteria are a 3.0/4.0 undergraduate grade point average and passage of the content assessment. Adjunct teachers would not be required to complete any preparation in how to teach nor pass the new pedagogy assessment required for new teacher licenses.
  • Restrictions of the teacher license renewal criteria to only the results of teacher evaluations earned in their local schools with no external expectations for professional development.
  • Elimination of the opportunity to renew existing 10 year licenses.
  • Ability to add any content area to an existing license without any developmentally appropriate content or teaching preparations. This change includes the potential for license additions in the fine arts, special education, early childhood education and elementary education by licensed individuals simply passing a test.
  • Changes to special education preparation that would not require any subject area preparation or expertise.
  • Changes to the building principal license requirements, changes that reduce degree requirements and eligibility criteria at a time in which the building principals are being asked to do significantly more.
  • Changes in the approval/accreditation criteria for state teacher preparation programs with no reference to national or professional criteria nor to a clear review process or time line.
In summary, the Indiana Department of Education made significant changes to teacher and administrator licensing and teacher preparation just two years ago; changes which have yet to be implemented fully even by the Department of Education. Coming before the original REPA revisions are fully implemented, REPA 2 will add significantly to the high level of instability in the policy environment affecting teachers and schools in Indiana. Perhaps, the primary recommendation should be “wait”; to allow for the changes made in 2010 to be implemented and for the results to be seen. If consideration of REPA 2 is not deferred, it is important to be aware of the proposed changes and to speak out on specific revisions needed to maintain quality standards for licensure and to avoid further de-professionalization of teaching. You are encouraged to share this letter and to review the proposed rules at http://www.doe.in.gov/sites/default/files/sboe/repa-2-april-25.pdf. More details about the public comment Website and the public hearing will be forthcoming.

On behalf of the Indiana Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (IACTE) Executive Committee

Jill D. Shedd
IACTE Executive Secretary
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Stop the Testing Insanity!


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