Wisconsin Teacher Licensing Standards

Erin Richards:

The proposal comes amid continuing discussion over the rigor and selectivity of university teacher education programs.

Jon Bales, executive director of the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators, said there are issues in Wisconsin around the recruitment of would-be teachers and the quality of their preparation. But he said the provision championed by Czaja is shortsighted and wouldn’t solve the problem.

“This is characteristic of bad and ineffective policy,” Bales said. “We think this puts all kids at risk.”

Christina Brey, spokeswoman for the state teachers union, said teaching requires more than subject-matter expertise. Licensure, she said, provides some assurance that the person has received training in how to teach children.

“Children all across the state deserve to have teachers who have proven they can do the job,” Brey said.

In a 4-page letter this week to Assembly and Senate lawmakers, the Wisconsin Association of Colleges for Teacher Education said the changes would compromise the quality of adolescent education.

The association urged lawmakers to amend the budget, saying that putting unprepared teachers into classrooms was not only unwise and unfair, but “threatens the very foundation of a strong, competitive workforce.”

The state budget proposal is not final. It must be passed by both houses of the Legislature and signed by Gov. Scott Walker. Walker had proposed easing teacher certification provisions in his original budget request.

The quality of Wisconsin teacher licensing schools has been in question recently.

When “A” stands for average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education receive sky high grades. How smart is that?