Proposed changes to Wisconsin’s teaching licensing standards are leaving a lot of people worried about the future quality of education in Wisconsin, WEAC member Brad Lutes told WISC-TV, Channel 3, in Madison.
“These standards would put us below the lowest-achieving states in the United States,” the Sun Prairie health and physical education teacher said in a report on changes approved by the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee.
The changes would throw out a decades-old process of licensing teachers to make sure they know their subject and how to interact with children and help them learn. Current licensing requires educators in middle and high school, for example, to have a bachelor’s degree and a major or minor in the subject they teach, plus completion of intensive training on skills required to be a teacher, and successful passage of skills and subject content assessments.
Under the changes, anyone with a bachelor’s degree in any subject could teach English, social studies, mathematics, and science. The only requirement is that a public school or school district or a private choice school determines that the individual is proficient and has relevant experience in each subject they teach.
Additionally, even individuals who have not earned a bachelor’s degree, or potentially a high school diploma, could teach in any subject area, excluding the core subjects of mathematics, English, science, and social studies. The only requirement would be that the public school or district or private voucher school determines that the individual is proficient and has relevant experience in the subject they intend to teach.
In the WISC-TV report, Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell, associate dean for teacher education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the changes make her feel sick.
“It is a bad means to an even worse end,” she said.
She said the proposal does not take into consideration many extremely important aspects of teaching, including classroom management, lesson planning, curriculum development, and working with families and communities to improve the outcome for kids.
“A teacher’s job is very, very expansive,” Hanley-Maxwell said.