Posted in IN Gen.Assembly, REPA, Teaching Career

Indiana “reformers” are Surprised by a Teacher Shortage?

[This entry has been updated. The second part has been added]

INITIAL REACTION

Kruse and Behning can’t understand why there’s a teacher shortage?

The two people in the Indiana legislature who are responsible for more damage to the state’s public education system than anyone else…and they don’t know why there’s a teacher shortage?

Either they are even more stupid than I suspected (and that’s saying quite a bit) or they think we’re incredibly stupid.

Indiana Lawmakers Call For Study On Teacher Shortage

“Senate Education Committee Chairman Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, and House Education Chairman Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis, wrote that “given the media reports and concerns that they have generated with school districts, we think it would be wise for the Indiana General Assembly to proactively address this issue.”

“They are calling for testimony from experts and those teaching in local schools to explain why the enrollment at teacher colleges and licensures are dropping….”

For starters (please feel free to add your own)…

We have…

Attacking teachers

  • Loss of collective bargaining rights over most contract items.
  • Attacking the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, a National Board Certified Teacher, because she’s “…just a librarian.”
  • REPA-3 allowing anyone someone to teach without knowing the first thing about education (Yes, I know this was the SBOE, but my guess is that they heard about it).

And…

Attacking Public Schools

  • Diverting funds for public education to private and charter schools.
  • Using an unproven and inadequate single letter grade to grade public schools…and insisting that we use it even though the testing was screwed up.

And finally…

Overuse and Misuse of Standardized Tests

  • Using student test scores to evaluate teachers.
  • Insisting on using an untested system before it’s ready.

UPON FURTHER CONSIDERATION

My first thought was that Kruse and Behning are just stupider than I imagined…and then I started thinking about it and I have begun to suspect that they aren’t worried about the lack of teachers at all.

First…this is the perfect excuse to saturate the state with TFA temps. Think of all the money the state will save without career teachers getting higher salaries.

Second…I think it will be time for REPA-4. The new crisis is that there won’t be enough teachers so the state will have to lower even further the requirements for people to become teachers. Right now all you need is a bachelor’s degree…and the ability to pass a test in your subject area and you can teach that subject in High School…without any teaching experience or training. Perhaps REPA-4 will drop the requirements even lower…and add elementary schools. Anyone with a college degree in anything could teach elementary school…and forget the test portion of the requirement…after all, how hard can it be to get a bunch of little kids to do what you want them to do! More low paid temps…

Third…not enough teachers? Raise the class size. Think how much money we can save there!

With those three things going think how easy it will be to claim that public schools are failing and we need to send even more money to private, parochial and charter schools. Let’s just shut down the whole public education system in the state and let the Friedmanites take over…no regulation needed at all. After all, it worked well for the banks, didn’t it?

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The narrow pursuit of test results has sidelined education issues of enduring importance such as poverty, equity in school funding, school segregation, health and physical education, science, the arts, access to early childhood education, class size, and curriculum development. We have witnessed the erosion of teachers’ professional autonomy, a narrowing of curriculum, and classrooms saturated with “test score-raising” instructional practices that betray our understandings of child development and our commitment to educating for artistry and critical thinking. And so now we are faced with “a crisis of pedagogy”–teaching in a system that no longer resembles the democratic ideals or tolerates the critical thinking and critical decision-making that we hope to impart on the students we teach.

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Stop the Testing Insanity!
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Author:

Retired after 35 years in public education.