Friday, November 16, 2012

Urgent Action Needed!

State Board of Education Votes on REPAII on December 5th

REPA II is the new set of rules proposed by the state (and set to be passed despite the overwhelming--99%--dissent at the public testimony hearing on June 21 of this year and since) which would change the requirements for teacher licensing.  Under these rules, any person with a bachelor's degree in any subject could take a standardized test, pass it, and become a teacher: no coursework, no classroom experience necessary.  The underlying assumption that all teacher education is worthless and REPA2 will all but obliterate its value in Indiana.

I know that as a parent, I want my teachers to know far more than simply the subjects they are teaching.  Teachers need to know how children learn, what methods work for which learning styles, etc.  The teaching and learning dynamic is not a simple, quantifiable, mechanical process of input-output.  Our children are not passive receptacles for knowledge; they are complex human beings who need the human connection in order to pique their curiosity, inspire their desire to learn, and feel valued as a person.  We have educational research which supports all of this pedagogy.  The desire on the part of "reformers" to do away with this teacher preparation is a desire to impose a business model on all of education.

What kinds of teachers would our children be subjected to if this passes?  How would they know that it isn't appropriate for children to sit still for hours on end and receive passively what knowledge they have to impart? How would they possibly understand the nuances of an emergent reader while listening to a child make up words as he or she reads aloud? What about our most vulnerable special needs children? How could one test possibly make up for the coursework on the brain, on how kids develop, on different methods for different learners? The idea is appalling.

Teachers are professionals.  REPAII would do away with that professional expertise and qualifications.  The view, instead, would be that these workers are a dime-a-dozen, easily replaceable, not highly-qualified. It would be unnecessary to pay them a professional salary and it would save the business owner (state) loads of money. This is par for the course in privatizing public education: making room for profit. 

Please write or call (or both) the State Board of Education members.  Their emails and phone numbers are on this IDOE web page if you scroll down a little.


1 comment:

  1. Vic Smith's testimony (found on the state ICPE website at is a good source of information:

    ".. Allowing students with Bachelor’s degrees in a content area to begin teaching with no training in teaching methods is wrong on two counts. First it will hurt students as the on-the-job, trial and error training unfolds. Second, it is a cruel joke to bright graduates to lead them to think that their love and knowledge of a subject is a sufficient qualification to teach a subject. My years of teaching social studies and supervising social studies teachers made one fact clear: Knowing history and motivating students to know history are two different things. This proposal ignores the science of pedagogy that has been built over the past 100 years. Requirements to learn pedagogical skills were not added to benefit universities but to give students better instruction. This proposal to lower the standards for teachers and allow those with a casual interest in teaching and no pedagogical training to get a license will end up hurting students and will give the teachers involved such a rocky introduction that high percentages will leave teaching. "

    Also read the opinion piece by Dean Gonzalez of IU's School of Education from June 7th of this year: