Among the lesser-publicized (but still disconcerting) provisions tucked into the 2015-17 state budget is a Republican backed provision that would deregulate licensing standards for middle and high school teachers across Wisconsin.
Adopted as a K-12 omnibus motion by the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC), the education package deregulates licensing standards for middle and high school teachers across the state. The legislation being rolled into the biennial budget would require the Department of Public Instruction to license anyone with a bachelor’s degree in any subject to teach English, social studies, mathematics, and science. The only requirement is that a public school or school district or a private choice school determines that the individual is proficient and has relevant experience in each subject they teach. Traditional licensure requires educators in middle and high school to have a bachelor’s degree and a major or minor in the subject they teach, plus completion of intensive training on skills required to be a teacher, and successful passage of skills and subject content assessments.
Additionally, the JFC motion would require the DPI to issue a teaching permit for individuals who have not earned a bachelor’s degree, or potentially a high school diploma, to teach in any subject area, excluding the core subjects of mathematics, English, science, and social studies.
It’s worth noting the DPI’s press release also indicated both deregulation provisions in the JFC motion might also prevent the fingerprinting and background checks required of all other licensed school staff.
Poorly educated staff who’ve not had proper background checks? Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me, but apparently Wisconsin’s Republicans think it’s a fine idea!