Big changes are coming for Indiana teachers looking for licensing and schools seeking to hire administrators, and the state board of education didn’t wait for the newly elected leader to approve them.
The reforms were pushed by outgoing superintendent of public instruction Tony Bennett. The state board of education passed the changes Wednesday after several months of debate, but the woman who defeated Bennett in the election was unhappy that she didn’t have a chance to weigh in.
Weeks before taking office, Glenda Ritz, asked the board to delay its vote on the new requirements, but that request was denied.
In a 9-2 vote, the board signed off on relaxed standards for teacher licensing, which will now rely on fewer training programs in favor of teacher testing and evaluations.
Administrators will also face fewer hurdles to employment. The state will now require just 2 years teaching experience, which can come in a higher education setting. Candidates will also be eleigible for employment without an advanced teaching degree.
"I worry about what we have done in our preparation for those building administrators," said Jill Shedd, with the Indiana Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
Shedd spoke out against several changes during the meeting, but afterward she told Fox59 News that the board did bolster some highly criticized requirements.
A controversial adjunct permit, which allows anyone with a four-year college degree and a 3.0 GPA to teach if they pass an exam, will now also require on the job training and evaluations.
"Overall, I'm much more satisfied about what happened,” Shedd said.
But many at the meeting argued that the board should have delayed the vote to work with Glenda Ritz.
In a statement Ritz said, “Historically, it is only common courtesy to put all pending items on hold until a new administration takes office and has time to review, ask questions and improve the content as well as the process. There is no need to push through policies that haven’t been reviewed by the incoming administration."
Bennett responded sharply when asked whether the vote was aimed at saddling Ritz with his policies.
"My job is to execute what we've been doing for eight months. It's to execute what I believe as superintendent of public instruction, to execute good public policy. This has been on the table for a long time and so I don't look at it as saddling her,” Bennett said. “She could very well, and I hope she is, saddled with a Supreme Court upheld voucher program, and she's going to have to administer that. She wholeheartedly disagrees with that to the extent that she was a plaintiff on the lawsuit. I wholeheartedly hope that she is saddled with that. I don't mean that critically. I don't mean that negatively toward miss Ritz. I mean that because I believe children are better because of that public policy."