TONY LUX: New rules for licensing teachers would hurt kids

2014-01-22T00:00:00Z 2014-02-10T18:41:07Z TONY LUX: New rules for licensing teachers would hurt kidsBy Tony Lux nwitimes.com
January 22, 2014 12:00 am  • 

“Rules for Educator Preparation and Accountability," otherwise known as REPA, are being considered for a third revision by the Indiana State Board of Education.

REPA 3 would grant an initial five-year teaching license to any college graduate with a 3.0 GPA who can simply pass a content area exam in the subject area in which he wants to teach without any training in how to teach, without student teaching experience and regardless of subsequent ineffective evaluations.

REPA 3 would bypass development of a complex set of skills needed to develop lesson plans, master classroom exams and state testing, analyze student strengths and weaknesses against state standards, manage student behavior, apply technology, understand the psychology of child development at pre-adolescent and adolescent ages, meet special needs of challenged or gifted students and communicate appropriately with parents and at-risk students.

As parents and general members of the public who can logically look at the huge expectations for teachers today, please contact the State Board of Education and join every professional education group in Indiana as they adamantly oppose REPA 3.

Your voice needs to be heard prior to Jan. 31. (www.in.gov/sboe/REPAIIIcomment.htm)

As written, REPA 3 will have irreparable harm for education in Indiana.

It is because of the talent, training and experience of public school educators that Indiana students are reaching record high levels of achievement on state exams and the graduation rate.

If teachers are the most important variable in student learning, then the value and necessity of highly prepared and qualified teachers is absolute.

The proposals that anyone with a college degree who can pass a content-based exam should be given a five-year teaching license without any significant supervised training in teaching methodology, early childhood or adolescent psychology, test and measurements, instructional technology, strategies of instruction and classroom management skills, are ill-conceived, illogical and potentially irrevocably damaging to the children of Indiana.

It is hard to imagine any justifiable motivation for this proposal other than to bolster the lack of credentialed teachers in charter schools or to openly express disdain for the history and expertise of the education community at all levels from K-12 through higher education.

Please do not implement REPA 3, and, most important, please demonstrate the recognition that teaching is both a science and an art that requires extensive training. It is not just content rigor, but relevance and relationships with children that make teachers effective. Please listen to the education experts in this state and demonstrate your respect for the profession.

Tony Lux is retired superintendent of Merrillville Community School Corp. The opinions are the writer's.

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