Assignment: Education-Unlicensed Teachers
Lisa Klein: Governor Scott Walker campaigned under the idea that he was going to bring change to the state. Part of those campaign promises include how, in his words, he plans to make Wisconsin's education system world class. Recruiting great teachers is a part of that plan.
But his idea of allowing people without a teaching license to teach our kids is raising some concerns among educators.
Gerry Roethel, Executive Director for Coulee Region United Educators: "Teaching isn't standing in front of a classroom and talking to them. That isn't how it is done today."
Lisa Klein: Governor Walker's hope is to give aspiring teachers with real-world experience the opportunity to lead our classrooms.
Governor Scott Walker: "Someone who maybe ran a business for 20 years might want to come in and teach economics in the high school and this would give them a path to do that."
Lisa Klein: But the executive director of Coulee Region United Educators says while a person may be an expert in their field that doesn't mean they can teach.
Gerry Roethel: "It's wonderful to be knowledgeable about economics or English or whatever, but it's delivering that knowledge. Conveying that knowledge. Setting up situations where students can learn from the teacher, from each other, collectively, collaboratively."
Lisa Klein: But the Governor says his proposal wouldn't allow just anyone to stand up in front of our kids and teach.
Governor Scott Walker: "It would still require that they had some sort of credentials in terms of education and expertise from the school, but it just wouldn't force people who've got real-world experience in a given category to be forced to go back and get a 4-year education degree."
Lisa Klein: What those credentials are exactly are still being worked out at the state capital. And the fear of the unknown is worry some for some educators.
Gerry Roethel: "If that means a one-semester, three-hour class on student learning, that's not going to be sufficient, I don't think."
Gerry Roethel: "I don't think we need to provide short cuts. Our children need the best and brightest, well trained, ready-to-go, first day in fall."
Lisa Klein: And Roethel doesn't understand why changes to the current licensing rules in Wisconsin is being used as a recruitment tool.
Gerry Roethel: I hear from superintendents that we have lots of applicants when we have openings. So, if we have applicants when we have openings why are we having this conversation, really?"
Lisa Klein: The Governor says more details about his future plans for education will be released soon.
Governor Scott Walker: "They're debating it now and the bill is a month or two away from being introduced. So, we'll have plenty of public discussion on that then."
Lisa Klein: And when that discussion happens, Roethel wants area legislators to know this...
Gerry Roethel: "We have a law in this state, PI 34, that provides a system for licensing folks in order to teach in this state. It's working. I think this is a solution looking for a problem. That's not where we're at."