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When the State Board of Education at a meeting last week approved changes to how teachers and school administrators are licensed in Indiana, the vote was 9-2.
One of the two board members to vote in opposition was Adams Central Superintendent Mike Pettibone.
The changes make it easier for teachers to switch subject areas and for schools to hire ‘‘adjunct’’ teachers if they received an undergraduate degree, scored at least a 3.0 GPA, and underwent training. Supporters said the changes will give administrators more options for hiring teachers.
Another change makes it easier for a teacher to become a principal.
Asked if he was one of the two to oppose the changes, Pettibone was emphatic: "Oh, yes," he replied.
"There are two things. One is that I am a little nervous about allowing other agencies to come in and approve teachers, and by simply taking a test. There are fundamental things a teacher needs to know, things you don't get simply by taking a test. In that way, you don't ensure these fundamentals.
"Second, for all these negotiations, we still don't have a final draft. Show me a final draft."
The Adams Central superintendent is also opposed to a change in how principals are hired.
"The most important person in the building is the principal, and I believe there is a steep learning curve (for a principal); it may take six, seven years. Now (due to the changes made by the state board), you ony need to be a teacher for two years (to become a priincipall) and there is no advanced degree needed. I just don't bellieve that's the way we want to do it. I just feel there needs to be a better gate to go through."
Democrat Glenda Ritz, the incoming superintendent of public instruction who beat Republican incumbent Tony Bennett in November, also opposed the changes and asked the board to delay voting on them until she took office in January. Pettibone agreed but the idea was rejected.
The other vote in opposition came from a Huntington teacher, Cari Whicker. ‘That pre-service training and licensing for our educators is very important and we cannot afford to have anything in the way of putting unqualified teachers in our classrooms,’’ Ritz said at the start of the meeting.
Teachers, parents and school administrators attended the meeting and testified against the changes over roughly two hours at the meeting.