Good morning! My name is Mark Lichtenberg, and I am President of the Evansville Teachers Association. I appreciate the opportunity to provide input on the proposed changes, but I wish that more of my colleagues were afforded the same opportunity. If relevant input from those most affected by the proposed changes – the teachers – were truly the goal of these hearings, they would not be scheduled on a day and at a time when teachers are in their classrooms.
With that said, I am happy to speak to you on behalf of teachers specifically regarding one of the proposed changes in REPA III.
Article 16 of the proposal provides an alternate licensure route called an adjunct teacher permit. I am strongly opposed to this rule for two primary reasons. First, I believe it to be unnecessary because alternative routes to licensure already exist in the form of a transition to teaching permit outlined earlier in Article 16. Second, I believe it lowers the standards for obtaining a teacher license to a point that is insulting to the teaching profession and unworthy of our state. Under the proposal, the only requirements for obtaining an adjunct teacher permit are:
1) A bachelor’s degree;
2) A GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in the content area in which the candidate wishes to obtain a license; and
3) Passage of a content area test.
There is no requirement that a candidate for such a permit complete any type of pedagogical instruction until they apply for a license renewal after 5 years have passed, and even then, the rule provides little assurance that the training received is of sufficient quality.
In my position, I have occasion to work with struggling teachers during an evaluation process. For the most part, in those situations the deficiencies that are identified are not related to the teachers’ knowledge of their content area. Rather, the issues are largely related to teaching methods and classroom management – precisely the components that are missing in the requirements for an adjunct teacher permit.
Would you want your child, your grandchild, your niece or nephew taught by an individual who has had little to no pedagogical instruction? Would you be comfortable with a teacher who is literally learning the art—the art—of teaching on the fly? Would you want to be operated on by a surgeon who demonstrates exceptional knowledge of the internal workings of the human body, but who has never had any practice or instruction with a scalpel? That approach makes no sense, and it should be self-evident to everyone who looks at it that this is the wrong approach.
Adopting the rules for an adjunct teacher permit cheapens teaching as a profession, marginalizes the hard work my colleagues do each and every day for the children of Indiana, and is yet another slap in the face to teachers across our state.
Thank you again for the opportunity to provide this input.