New teacher licencing rule surprises educators and lawmakers

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VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) A new state law affecting teacher license renewal has left several educators and local lawmakers shaking their heads. That’s because many say the bill was passed without complete knowledge of the new language.  

Most teachers would be affected by the new legislation and some are upset. 

“It was put in at the last minute and I talked to many of my friends who are representatives and none of us saw it,” State Representation Tonya Pfaff said. “None of us knew about it.” 

Teachers will soon have a new requirement to keep their teaching license.  

Currently 90 points or 90 hours are required for teachers to renew their license.      

A new law in the state will now require teachers with five-year licenses to have 15 hours or 15 points from a company or local business externship.  

Meaning teachers have to spend additional time out in the community to learn something they can take back to the classroom with them. 

Among those affected by the change is State Representative Tonya Pfaff who also teaches math at Terre Haute North. 

“I think the concept as a whole is a good one, I guess, but I just don’t see how I’m going to have the time find an externship and go do it,” Praff said.       

House Bill 1002 passed the house and senate, but it didn’t include language regarding the externship, it was only added in a conference committee.  

Pfaff voted yes for the bill before the change. 

“It’s unfortunate because no teachers were ever asked about this,” Pfaff said. “Nobody was asked, hey is this a good idea.”  

With Indiana teacher shortage Pfaff fears the new law could hurt an already struggling field. 

In a statement Indiana State Teacher’s Association said “ISTA opposes this additional requirement of traditional public-school teachers.” and “ISTA will seek a legislative solution to this problem. In the meantime, ISTA will identify multiple options for complying.” 

“Teachers have a lot of responsibilities, it’s changed in the last 25 years that I’ve been teaching and so for me something like this is another hindrance to my profession and what I don’t want is for people to not go into teaching,” Praff said. “We need teachers. We need good teachers and so to me this is pretty upsetting.” 

Now when lawmakers get back to work in January, Pfaff says that it’s her personal goal is to introduce legislation to give teachers a course.  

So, they can decide whether or not to do an externship.  

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