The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Letters

August 12, 2009

Viewpoint: Licensing rules for teachers must emphasize content and flexibility

By Dr. Tony Bennett

State superintendent of public instruction

We expect a lot from teachers in Indiana, and they expect a lot from themselves. Research shows that teachers are the primary influence on students’ academic achievement. Yet, our licensing requirements for teachers don’t help them meet those high expectations. We require them to jump through hoops that often cost thousands of dollars and do little to make them better teachers, but we don’t expect new teachers to master the subjects they’ll teach.

In its 2007 State Teacher Policy Yearbook, the National Council on Teacher Quality gave Indiana a ‘D’ for its policies to identify teacher effectiveness and retain the best new teachers. Given the essential role teachers play in students’ achievement, this is an area requiring swift action.

Recently, the Department of Education proposed changing educator licensing rules to attract successful professionals to careers in education and to ensure future teachers have deep content knowledge of their subjects.

To guarantee all new teachers will be experts in the subjects they teach, we’ve recommended requiring teaching candidates to dedicate more of their undergraduate credit hours to content knowledge by majoring in a core subject, such as mathematics or chemistry. We’re not the first to recommend this change; Purdue University already requires a content major for all its education graduates who will be teaching specific subject areas.

Under the proposed rules, teaching candidates also would be required to pass tests for their subject-area and instructional knowledge to prove they know both what to teach and how to teach before standing in front of a classroom.

While it is imperative to raise the bar on incoming teachers’ depth of content knowledge, our proposed rules also plan for the future. With 54 percent of all Indiana teachers age 50 or older, Indiana will face a critical teacher shortage in the coming years. Teachers in subjects like science and math will be in the highest demand. Of all the new teaching certifications in 2008-09, only 7 percent were issued to future math teachers and only 6 percent were issued to future science teachers. Within five years, 25 percent of mathematics and science teachers will be eligible to retire. Within 10 years, those projections increase to 36 percent.

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Letters
  • Viewpoint: Adding such a robust water resource with Mounds Lake would set us apart I have lived in Madison County most of my life, and for the past 14 years, I served on the Town Council in Pendleton, recently retiring as president. I have watched with great interest the happenings around the proposed Mounds Mall for a few reasons.

    July 26, 2014

  • Letter: Dr. David and Kay Mares are local treasures Throughout history we have had treasures that were not appreciated until years or centuries after their time. The lost art of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The terra cotta men of China. Vincent Van Gogh was a failing, starving artist in his time. Now his works are some of the world’s most valued. Madison County has a prize of its own that should be recognized in its time.

    July 24, 2014

  • Letter: Reservoir promotion has circus approach P.T. Barnum is starting his tour to promote the reservoir by going to all the towns surrounding the dream. Rob Sparks is this town's P.T. Barnum.

    July 24, 2014

  • Letter: Repentance is key to surviving times What happens to a nation that refuses to repent before God? What happens to a nation that had strong Christian beginnings, but now more closely resembles Sodom and Gomorrah?

    July 24, 2014

  • Letter: Anderson's annexed areas still lack business On July 10, 2014, at the Anderson City Council meeting, the executor of the estate was shut off from speaking, because she did not live in Adams Township, and the person from Adams Township tried to get up and speak was not allowed to. The council rushed the vote for zoning the land for business.

    July 22, 2014

  • Letter: Birth control, abortion should be woman's choice Why are Republicans so gung-ho on restricting birth control and abortion? That's easy. Republican legislators are so unpopular because they don't legislate and literally block all bills that would help the middle and lower income classes.

    July 22, 2014

  • Bannon, Tom Viewpoint: Paramount is an investment that is paying dividends About 25 years ago the citizens of Anderson made a decision that would have a long lasting impact on the community. Instead of saving the old Paramount Theatre, which had fallen into serious disrepair, it was decided that the easy and prudent decision was to get rid of the building to create additional downtown parking. Shortly after the Paramount came down, the community got rid of another abandoned structure when the old Carnegie Building, which was the former home of the Anderson Public Library, was torn down.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Letter: Wall Street should not be in politics Talk about corruption, ponzi schemes, we're looking at you, Wall Street, controlling the prices of our food, gasoline and clothing we must buy and about every company in America — while trashing President Obama, the Affordable Health Care Plan, along with every Democrat, to influence our elections, at the same time.

    July 17, 2014

  • Letter: 23 Relay for Life teams raised $40,000 As chairs of this year's American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Madison County, we would like to thank everyone for their generosity and support.

    July 17, 2014

  • Letter: Ritz under attack by state education board I attended the Indiana State Board of Education meeting in Indianapolis on Wednesday, July 9, and was genuinely disturbed by what I saw.

    July 17, 2014

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