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Education

Kansas Board Of Education Passes Teacher Licensure Change

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Michael B.
/
flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas State Board of Education has narrowly approved a plan that would loosen some teaching requirements for six Kansas school districts. The 6-4 vote will allow the districts to hire people who have expertise in a subject but who lack a teaching license.

Supporters of the change include Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools Superintendent Cynthia Lane, who says this will give administrators more flexibility in hiring for hard-to-fill teacher openings.

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Credit Stephen Koranda
Kansas teacher Mike Wilson speaks to the state board of education before Tuesday's vote on loosening teacher hiring standards.

“The big issue is that this is going to be used on a small number of openings for very specialized reasons. This is not about solving the teacher shortage in Kansas,” says Lane.

The licensure change will apply to the state's six innovative districts: Blue Valley, Concordia, Hugoton, Kansas City, Marysville and McPherson.

Lane says under the new rules, when school districts are faced with a vacancy, they'd first try to hire a teacher licensed to teach a different subject. If that’s not an option, administrators could consider hiring non-teachers with knowledge in the subject area.

Critics have argued that it takes more than expertise in a subject to teach students. Around a dozen teachers Tuesday morning told the Board of Education that the change is a bad idea.