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House panel votes to ease school exec rules

– School superintendents would no longer have to hold an Indiana superintendent’s or teacher’s license under a bill endorsed Tuesday by an Indiana House committee.

Supporters argued that the proposal would give more flexibility to local school boards on whom they could hire as their top district administrator. Opponents of the change said they worried that the state would be lowering its expectations by allowing superintendents without classroom experience.

The House Education Committee voted 9-4 to approve the bill, sending it to the full House for consideration.

Rep. Todd Huston, R-Fishers, described the change he sponsored as deregulating local school boards, which could still require applicants for superintendent positions to have a state license.

Huston pointed to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who wasn’t a teacher before becoming CEO of the Chicago Public Schools and then the country’s top education official.

“I don’t think this bill lowers standards. I think it gives flexibility and opens up the pool of applicants to be as large as the local school board thinks is necessary to best meet their school needs,” said Huston, who was a chief of staff to former Republican state schools Superintendent Tony Bennett.

School district superintendents are currently required to have a teacher’s license and complete graduate school work in school administration.

Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh, D-Crown Point, said she shared the opinion of teacher groups that the importance of classroom experience was being discounted.

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