Bill will no longer allow unlicensed teachers, fixes collective bargaining headache
SB 387 began as a temporary fix providing opportunities for teacher candidates to receive a waiver if they fail the licensing exam – an exam that in some areas had disproportionately low pass rates. The bill will provide for a study of the teacher licensing exam to review the validity of the test, consider select a new test vendor, a look at reciprocity with other states, a study of pass rates in other states and whether an individual should be responsible for the cost of the exam.
A component of the bill that would have allowed up to 10 percent of unlicensed teachers in public school classrooms was removed. ISTA thanks its advocates for responding in great force, which resulted in legislators removing the language.
The bill will also allow for differentiated pay to be bargained, undoing the previous Indiana Education Employment Relations Board (IEERB) ruling that pay increments must be equally distributed. These decisions are made through the collective bargaining process. The 2017 IEERB ruling was problematic for both administrators and teachers and this clarification is welcome.
New supplemental pay (stipend) provisions for STEM teachers and special education professionals remain outside of bargaining under this bill. Several of ISTA’s amendments to require these supplements to remain bargainable failed. The concern is that a select few teachers may receive these stipends from the available funding for all teachers to see increases in base salaries. This bill never specifically funded the new stipends, so this stipend authority ends up pitting individual teacher against individual teacher.
Finally, the bill will allow someone without a bachelor’s degree, but who has at least 10,000 hours of experience in a particular content area in the preceding seven years and who has passed a content exam, to be permitted to teach under Indiana’s career specialist permit. A pedagogy requirement was added for career specialists as well. ISTA fought to include a minimum bachelor’s degree requirement into this permit, but the authors continued to believe that most candidates will still have the bachelor degree. According to the bill’s authors, this language allows only the extraordinarily talented, but non-college educated person, will qualify for one of these permits.
SB 387 goes to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk for signature.