Governor Mitch Daniels today signed new teacher licensing rules that are aimed at improving student achievement, ensuring that all new teachers will be experts in the subjects they teach, and helping adults in other careers move more easily into teaching.
The Indiana Department of Education's Rules for Educator Preparation and Accountability (REPA) require that those who teach grades 5 through 12 earn baccalaureate degrees in the subjects they teach. A degree in education by itself for these grades will no longer qualify an applicant for an Indiana teaching license.
"From now on, we'll know for certain that math teachers know math, science teachers know science, history teachers know history, and so on. 'How to' courses have their place, but they are secondary in value to mastery of the content we need our children to learn," said Daniels.
Members of the Advisory Board of the Division of Professional Standards, including Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett, have worked with education stakeholders on the revisions since July 2009.
"These new regulations are a win for Indiana's students and educators, and they are a great example of the good things that can happen when adults come together to improve instructional quality for students and put the needs of Indiana children first," Bennett said.
"The Commission for Higher Education looks forward to working with our colleges and universities to align Indiana's teacher preparation programs to these new licensing standards for the benefit of both students and teachers," said Teresa Lubbers, higher education commissioner. "Every student who enters an Indiana school of education should do so with the understanding that our state is placing a priority on content knowledge and effective instruction."
The rules will also:
* Assist successful adults in other careers such as math, science and engineering to become teachers in Indiana schools.
* Provide more flexibility for current and future teachers to renew and update licenses without having to spend thousands of dollars in college tuition.
* Make it easier for current teachers to teach different courses by passing subject matter examinations. This will make teachers more marketable and help schools to offer a wider variety of courses, especially in math and science.
* Increase student achievement. Incoming teachers will work with school leaders to create personalized professional development plans aimed at improving instruction.
* Empower school boards to hire superintendents from outside the traditional educational system.
The new teacher licensing rules go into effect July 31, 2010. For more information on the Rules for Educator Preparation and Accountability, go to www.doe.in.gov/news/2009/07-July/REPA.html.
Audio from today's signing ceremony can be found at this link: http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Audio/033010MediaAvailability.mp3