Recent decisions made by the Indiana State Board of Education appear to have minimal impact on Wawasee schools, at least for the foreseeable future.
The state board voted to adopt rules to establish how K-12 teachers, staff and administrators obtain licenses or permits. A career specialist permit, a two-year renewable license for secondary level teachers, was also created. According to Dr. David Freitas of the state board of education, the permit gives professionals an entryway into the teaching profession and “empowers school boards and principals to make local hiring decisions that best fit their schools needs.”
The permit will require an applicant to have a bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.0 GPA in a content area related to the subject the applicant intends to teach, pass the content area licensure assessment, complete pedagogy requirements beginning in the first month of teaching and have 6,000 hours of work experience in the last five years in a field related to the licensure area.
But that decision has drawn criticism. “Wawasee would only use someone under the licensure rules in an extreme circumstance,” said Dr. Tom Edington, superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corp. “I am not in favor of the new Indiana rules, as they seem to treat teaching as something other than a profession.”
He noted, though, “career/tech teachers have always had the ability to gain licensure with several years of knowledge in their trade.”
Glenda Ritz, Indiana superintendent of public instruction, also is not in favor of the new rules. She noted teaching requirements in Indiana need to be held to the highest standards possible.
The state board of education also approved appeals criteria and the review process for A-F accountability grades assigned to public schools. During a visit to North Webster Elementary School Thursday, Ritz promised changes will go into effect this school year for accountability grades and they will show growth of schools more than they have in the past.
Edington, though, and other school administrators have been critical of the accountability grading system. “The current school grading system used in Indiana does not accurately measure how well a school does in educating children in all subjects and helping them to be great citizens and contributing future adults. Wawasee prides itself in those areas,” Edington said.
Grades are motivated by political factors, he feels. “We discount political answers, like school grades, to true educational questions,” he commented.
In response to the comments by Ritz about accountability grades, Edington said “I hope they make the school letter grades in a different fashion, if they are needed.”
Accountability grades were developed as the result of Indiana Public Law 221.