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Web letter by Cathy Fuentes-Rowher: Show support for new state superintendent; help call off REPA 2 rules

Glenda Ritz won by a large margin for superintendent of public instruction, receiving around 100,000 more votes than Gov.-elect Mike Pence. Yet, despite this overwhelming support from Indiana voters, Pence and Gov. Mitch Daniels have claimed that the message from the election results was a “strong affirmation on the progress of education reform in the state.” On the contrary, unlike the election of the state legislature and governorship, the votes for state superintendent clearly reflect the path in education that the majority of Hoosiers support. It is time for us to follow through on that message.

On Dec. 5, the State Board of Education will be voting on new rules for teacher licensure called REPA2. These new rules would allow anyone with a bachelor’s degree in any subject to take a test and become a teacher: no coursework, no classroom experience necessary. REPA2 removes professional development from license renewal as well. This denigration of the teaching profession is unacceptable. It sees teachers as replaceable, unskilled labor, a dime a dozen. In addition, it allows the DOE to approve nearly any organization to be a teacher training institution.

This business model imposed on our children’s education is abominable.

As a mother of four, I entrust my children to the care of these professionals every day. I want my teachers to be well educated, not only in the subject matter, but in how children learn. Teachers need to know what is developmentally appropriate, what works, how to spot learning difficulties, keep kids’ attention and instill curiosity. Learning is complex and so is teaching; it cannot possibly be summed up on one test.

Please write or call the board members to tell them to reject these new rules for teacher licensing in Indiana. They must hear from us. In addition, there is an online petition one can sign to send another message that, indeed, when we voted for Ritz, we voted for a change: to educate, not over-test our kids and to respect and trust their teachers with their care.

CATHY FUENTES-ROHWER

Bloomington

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