Monday, January 7, 2013

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #103– January 7, 2013

Dear Friends,

In Dr. Bennett’s final meeting last Wednesday (Jan. 2), the State Board of Education approved new language to lower the standards for getting teaching license.

This action was prompted by amendments made to REPA 2 when it was approved with at the previous State Board meeting on December 5th, described in detail in Vic’s Statehouse Notes #100. The approval of this new language near the end of a long meeting completes the rule changes in teacher and administrative licensing that have been strongly opposed by educators and education organizations.

The new language pertains to adding a pedagogy component to the Adjunct Teacher Permit. Here is the text of the new language.

The Adjunct Teaching Permit was attacked repeatedly during public comments in the December 5th meeting for granting a 5-year teaching license to individuals who have had no teacher training courses and no student teaching experiences. In response, State Board Member Neil Pickett who made the motion to approve REPA 2 added an amendment to include a pedagogy component in the requirements for an Adjunct Teaching Permit. He specifically said on Dec. 5th that he wanted the Adjunct Teachers to have pedagogical training right away as they begin their teaching, following the model proposed by Dr. Bennett of the workplace specialists who begin training in the first year of their experience as vocational teachers.

The new language approved last Wednesday does not align with directions given by the Board in the discussion of this issue on December 5th. It does not require Adjunct Teachers to begin pedagogical studies in the first year, but gives them five years to complete what I would call a “pedagogical light” program which is being created for this purpose. By then, it may be too late for their success in the classroom.

I wanted to make sure that all members of the State Board realized that the new language did not meet the speed of delivery that they had asked for on December 5th, so I prepared a public comment for the January 2nd meeting which they could hear before the vote, asking them to table the new language until the Department could propose language which meets the board’s directions. Here is the text of my public comment.

I was not the only speaker on this issue during public comments. Shawn Shriver representing Ball State and a former director of certification in IDOE spoke first asking for a mechanism to evaluate and monitor the quality of this new program. No such plan for IDOE oversight of the pedagogical program was included in the new language, but only the six topics the pedagogical studies were to include. Then Jill Shedd representing the Indiana Association for Colleges of Teacher Education strongly made the same point: this new pedagogical program lacks any oversight for quality review. What makes oversight by IDOE even more important is that the new language opens the program to for-profit entities, to professional organizations and to school corporations, as well as to teacher education colleges.

Who will be watching the henhouse?


In summary, the Adjunct Teaching Permit would allow anyone with a Bachelors Degree to get a 5-year permit to teach if they have a 3.0 in their subject and pass the content area test. The new language added a 6-topic pedagogy program to be completed before the 5-year permit can be renewed.

The new language, in my analysis, has clear problems:
  1. No minimum length of time on each of the six topics is prescribed.
  2. The pedagogy program is not required in the first year of the Adjunct Teacher Permit but may be delayed for three or four years before it is started.
  3. For-profit entities as well as non-profit entities or universities can offer the pedagogy program.
  4. No method for the state to evaluate or monitor the quality of the pedagogy program is included.
Has this rule been passed legally?

The delivery of these programs by for-profit entities rather than by colleges is a new and extremely controversial concept which by itself should trigger additional hearings.

These revisions are clearly major, substantive changes. Indiana Code 4-22-2-29 says:

Sec. 29. (b) An agency may not adopt a rule that substantially differs from the version or versions of the proposed rule or rules published in the Indiana Register under section 24 of this chapter, unless it is a logical outgrowth of any proposed rule as supported by any written comments submitted:
(1) during the public comment period; or
(2) by the Indiana economic development corporation under IC 4-22-2.1-6(a), if applicable.
Clearly, this language “substantially differs from the version” printed in the official record. It describes a new “pedagogically light” training program which may be offered by for-profit entities as well as accredited colleges, language that was not “supported by any written comments submitted during the public comment period” as the law requires.

I believe that this rule was not ready for final approval. The board should have tabled this language and made plans to bring these major changes revealed for the first time only a few days ago to the public for additional public hearings.

Instead, the State Board voted to accept the new language unanimously with no discussion.

Glenda Ritz sat on the front row during the entire meeting. In comments to the media afterward, she expressed interest in revisiting this issue.

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

ICPE begins work to promote public education in the Statehouse this week as the General Assembly begins. We are well represented by our lobbyist Joel Hand, but to keep him in place we need all members from last year to renew and we need new members who support public education.

Go to for membership and renewal information.

Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998.

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