A new law intended to benefit Hoosier students beyond high school is causing some confusion, with many voicing concerns about the law based on a misconception that all educators must complete an externship to renew their licenses.
Hoosier educators have four options when it comes to renewing their licenses. They can choose to complete six hours of college coursework, participate in the National Board Certification process, count other educational requirements from other concurrently held licenses toward the professional educator license, or develop a Professional Growth Plan.
Those who choose the Professional Growth Plan option earn 90 professional growth points or hours over the course of five years. Under a new law, those who choose this option after July of this year will dedicate 15 of these 90 professional growth points to exploring their local community or state’s workforce needs. The new law does not require teachers to earn additional points or dedicate more time for licensure renewal.
Local schools determine what qualifies for these 15 out of 90 points, which could include webinars at the school or conferences provided by the state, or more intensive experiences like business partnerships or externships, which are already commonplace throughout Indiana.
This proposal, recommended in 2018 by the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet, passed unanimously with Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick voting in favor of the measure.
While this new law helps ensure our students are better prepared for the workforce and success beyond high school, I agree legislators should take a second look at this policy on behalf of educators of lower grades. Our elementary school teachers may benefit more from dedicating these 15 hours to another area of importance.
Licensing renewals are opportunities to enhance classroom instruction, so the requirements must be beneficial to all. With the 2020 session approaching, we will further examine the issue so that we can ensure this option is truly beneficial and relevant for all of our hardworking educators and their students.
State Rep. Chris Judy (R-Fort Wayne) represents House District 83,
which includes portion of Allen and Whitley counties.
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