State Rep. Vernon G. Smith

Rep. Smith calls attention to troubling teacher bill in House

Contributed By:The 411 News

New teachers could be in the classroom after 1 month of training

Indpls. – State Rep. Vernon G. Smith (D-Gary) expressed his concern regarding Senate Bill 205, which was presented to the House Education Committee. The legislation speeds up and provides an alternative path to gaining an Indiana teaching license.

"This new alternative does away with some of the most important standards that we hold our Hoosier teachers to before handing them the keys to a classroom," Smith said. "The fee to get a license this way, from start to finish, is only $1,900, which is very telling of the quality of the program."

Smith says the bill would provide an alternate path to receiving a teacher's license that would skirt many key qualifications. The bill would grant licensing via the Alternative Teacher Certification Program, "an un-accredited, self-study process that is conducted without faculty instruction."

The bill would allow a graduate of a 4-year college to obtain a teachers' license after completing the ATC program. Completion also requires the applicant to hold a valid CPR certification and attend youth suicide awareness and prevention training.

"Would we entrust a license to a truck driver who had never been on the road? Or to a doctor who had never been in the operating room?" Smith asked. "Every Hoosier deserves to rest assured that they are leaving their child in the care of a qualified, vetted professional.

Smith said the bill does not require a minimum GPA for enrollment, nor one to remain enrolled once an applicant has begun. It would also not require field experience or real-life application, such as student teaching. Additionally, Smith said, "The typically required accreditation test could be waived and the entire program potentially completed in one month."

"Those pushing this bill argue that it is necessary to address the teacher shortage in Indiana, yet it ignores the actual causes of this deficit," Smith said. "To solve the problem, we must raise teacher pay to compete with surrounding states, not lower the bar to replace the talent we are losing with less qualified candidates."

Smith said, "I urge all concerned Hoosier parents to contact their representatives and share their concern. To teach is one of the most honorable professions in our society. Teachers are entrusted with helping guide our children into the future. That trust should not be bestowed lightly."

Story Posted:03/25/2021

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