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Web letter: Passing educator licensing rules appears self-serving

After two public hearings where educators across the state vehemently testified against passing Rules for Education Preparation and Accountability II, legislation to minimize requirements for obtaining a teaching and administrator licenses in Indiana, the State Board of Education passed it anyway.

The majority of educators voiced requests to table REPA II until Glenda Ritz, newly elected Superintendent of Instruction, and her administration were provided an opportunity to evaluate this legislation. The people of Indiana clearly elected Ritz to represent our educational leadership for the future.

Mike Pettibone, the only K-12 administrator on the board, insightfully made a move to table this legislation, a prudent request supported by the majority of citizens in the room. Unfortunately, no other board members would second his request.

After several more confusing revisions of the REPA II legislation, a quick move was made to approve it. Seven of the nine board members voted to pass it, despite major objections from educators and parents. This political move by state Superintendent Tony Bennett and board majority was clearly self-serving.

Reducing teacher preparation defies validated research documenting significant increases in student achievement by increasing standards for teacher preparation, not decreasing. This is the wrong move for our children and driven by a privatization agenda.

Pettibone from Monroe should be commended for adhering to his principles and maintaining an open ear to the public he serves. He was conscientiously requesting a final version of this important legislation for review. This was denied. He demonstrated responsibility against the dominance and shortsightedness of other state board members. As an educator in this process, I was proud to acknowledge I grew up in Adams County.

Thank you Mr. Pettibone for your careful consideration of important policies affecting the education of Hoosier children and respecting the process of democracy.