Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Teacher License in Indiana

The Proposed Rule Revisions for Educator Preparation and Accountability (REPA) cannot be amended without public comments. Family Voices Indiana urges our members to share their thoughts on the training and qualifications needed for education professionals .
The following options are availbe for you to give input:
Comment: Add your comments to the DOE web site http://www.doe.in.gov/ by clicking on, “Comment on REPA here.” You may also access the full REPA document of the proposed rules from that web site, or request to see them at the Indiana Department of Education, 151 West Ohio Street and Legislative Services Agency, One North Capitol, Suite 325, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Attend one or more of the public hearings:
October 27, 2009, at 10:00 a.m., at Rochester High School, 1 Zebra Lane, Rochester
October 29, 2009, at 10:00 a.m., at Scottsburg Middle School, 425 South Third Street, Scottsburg
November 2, 2009, at 10:00 a.m., at the Indiana State Library, Historical Reference Room, 315 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis

While you are encouraged to review the proposal for yourself and consider your input. Family Voices shares the following points from advocates in the Early Childhood community for your consideration:
(1) The early childhood education license and kindergarten endorsement will be eliminated for current and future teachers. Thus, there will be no credential recognizing the specialized preparation of professionals who work with young children, birth to 5, and their families. Also, when current holders of the early childhood license come up for license renewal, their new license will be P-6, not early childhood. The early childhood license will no longer exist or be recognized.
(2) The Kindergarten-6th grade license will expand to include preschool, thus be a P-6 license. This means, for example, that with little or no specialized preparation in early childhood education, a middle school teacher could teach preschool; conversely a preschool teacher could teach 6th grade algebra or science. (It is true that the state recently added early childhood back as a “content area” that could be taken as a minor for 15 credits or so within the elementary education major, but this would be without a credential of any kind.) Ideally, we support having the state define the elementary license as 1st -6th grade, reinstate the early childhood license for P-3rd grade, and add an early childhood special education license, P-3rd grade.)
It is important to note there will be major changes in how elementary teachers will be prepared. Under the proposed rules, as we understand them, they can be licensed in one of the following ways:
a. Major in elementary education in a bachelor’s program at a college or university: Students will be limited to 30 credits of coursework (for most programs, this is at least a 50% reduction in courses), including field experience, and these courses are largely mandated by the state in terms of content. Graduates will then take a test and apply for a P-6 teaching license.
b. Minor in elementary education in a bachelor’s program at a college or university: Students can major in any content area and then complete an 18 credit minor in elementary education, pass a test, and apply for a P-6 license.
c. On-line elementary education bachelor’s program: A student may earn their entire degree on-line at any provider, pass a test, and apply for a P-6th grade license. This means that a teacher with a P-6 license, working in a preschool, K or primary classroom, may never have had any previous supervised experience, ever, with young children before being licensed.

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