Wednesday, December 5, 2012
REPA 2 - ISTA Statement to State Board
December 5, 2012
ISTA provided this statement to the Indiana State Board of Education at its meeting this morning:
The Indiana State Teachers Association urges the Indiana State Board of Education to table further action on REPA 2.
REPA 2 is a sweeping set of rule changes that will affect everything from approving teacher training institutions to teacher licensure and re-licensure - the overall effect of which will de-professionalize the teaching profession. The changes in licensure alone could mean that a person need only pass a content test to become a licensed teacher in the state in certain areas without ever having taken a single teaching methods, child psychology or classroom management course first.
The case has not been made that any of this is warranted or that the area of teacher licensure/re-licensure is in a state of crisis (or even near-crisis) in Indiana. This is an area in which a comprehensive overhaul was made recently (REPA 1) in 2010-and REPA 1 has not even had the chance to be fully implemented. There currently exist multiple paths to teaching, both traditional and alternative, in Indiana law and rule. What REPA 2 does is both extreme and unnecessary, the results of which could be dangerous to classrooms of children.
Among the issues over which ISTA members are concerned relate to the new "adjunct teachers permit" which would allow any person with a bachelor degree (3.0 gpa) to become a classroom teacher. Absolutely no classroom experience, no coursework in classroom management or in student discipline would be required going in.
And tying the evaluation results to an adjunct faculty member's licensure is in contravention to the compromise earlier made to concerned legislators.
Finally, shifting authority away from the elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction and to the State Board of Education itself to approve teacher training programs smacks of politics over policy.
As drafted, there is no substance offered in REPA 2 on which anyone can count to know what will constitute a legitimate teacher preparation program. No longer will we know that public school teachers are trained at bona fide universities. Instead REPA 2 would allow "organizations" approved by political appointees to become teacher preparation centers. This is what is meant when accusations are made to the State Board that REPA 2 de-professionalizes the profession of teaching.
The State Board of Education should table any further consideration of REPA 2.