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Education

KS Board of Education To Vote On Unlicensed Teacher Proposal

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Larry Darling, flickr Creative Commons
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UPDATE:

The Kansas Board of Education has passed a plan to allow a coalition of school districts to fill open teaching positions with non-licensed teachers. 

Original Story:

The Kansas Board of Education is set to vote on Tuesday on a plan that would allow a small group of school districts to fill their open teaching positions with non-licensed teachers.

A coalition of six school districts, including McPherson, is asking the state education board to help them address teacher shortages by allowing them to hire unlicensed teachers.

Under the proposal, prospective hires would be issued a “specialized teaching certificate” after passing a background check and receiving school board approval.

The Kansas National Education Association’s Marcus Baltzall says the teachers’ group is against the measure.

“There are alternative ways for folks from business and industry who truly have a dedication to Kansas students to become licensed and get into a classroom and become full educators," Baltzall says. “Those solutions already exist.”

State Education Board Chairman Jim McNiece says the measure only applies to the coalition districts and would provide flexibility for them to respond should a unique need arise in the future.

According to McNiece, the state loosened teaching requirements for some subject areas last year, allowing districts to hire people with expertise in fields like science and math, but with no education degree to teach those subjects in middle or high school.

The proposal would apply to the state’s six innovative districts, which are Blue Valley, Concordia, Hugoton, Kansas City, Marysville and McPherson.

The coalition was established in 2013 by state lawmakers to allow a small group of districts to work outside some of the state's educational requirements.