Worth consideration

Monday, November 6, 2006

The state of Iowa is considering a plan modeled after plans in Minnesota and Kansas to allow professionals with bachelor's degrees in disciplines other than education to teach high school courses.

Under the plan being considered in Iowa, a person with a bachelor's degree plus three years of work in a related field could teach up to a year while registered for classes in a teacher intern program - an accelerated, online graduate certificate program geared toward those with bachelor's degrees who want to teach in secondary education.

Although this special license to teach would not be exclusive to any particular discipline, the plan is being promoted as a way to cover teacher shortages which are a particular problem in the areas of math and science.

This may be a way to provide a temporary fix for a school system in need. But we understand the concerns expressed by those who do not believe a person should be teaching without any training in education.

It may be useful to get feedback by objective sources in the states where this has been tried. It would be even better if some study has been conducted by an objective independent organization on the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of this kind of approach.

With the state making more mandates on what school districts need to offer students, the state needs to consider creative options for districts to meet those mandates.