Is the Wisconsin teacher equivalency license a good move for the Wisconsin education system?
The state of Wisconsin has introduced a new path to employment within its education system with the License Based on Equivalency.
Basically, the license makes it easier for aspiring educators to enter the teaching profession without attending a traditional education school.
The license calls for three years of teaching experience, a detailed portfolio of evidence that the individual is qualified as a teacher, and completion of a performance assessment.
The teaching experience can be acquired in places like private schools, child care centers or workplace training centers.
Governor Scott Walker praised the new license and expressed his approval towards the new opportunity for Wisconsin to fill jobs in high-need areas with qualified teachers. High-need areas are subjects like math and science that are often more difficult to fill in than other subjects.
The editorial board feels as though the license may not have been a smart move for Wisconsin. It is true that jobs are being filled by individuals with previous teaching experience, but the issue lies in whether or not it is the right type of experience.
Teachers who are trained in a traditional education school learn more than just “teaching”. They learn effective communication with children, they are exposed to a large variety of special needs and they are required to understand child development.
Teachers who are not required to learn these skills in a traditional and more rigorous setting may not have the opportunity to do so before they find themselves in a classroom.
The board was struck by the fact that Governor Walker called the license a good move after losing many of Wisconsin’s experienced teachers and replacing them with less experienced educators.
There is no doubt that there are worse options for filling the open positions; experience in working with children is essential in a potential teacher. However, the role of “teacher” is devalued when the jobs are merely being filled.
Members of the board agree that the solution seems very short sighted. While the license will help to fill jobs in the short term, it will do nothing to keep Wisconsin’s education system going strong in the long run.
The license does nothing to retain teachers once they’re in the system; it is a band-aid solution to patch up the damage that was done by Walker’s Budget Repair Bill.
There is no doubt that Wisconsin’s education system will be negatively affected by the loss of many of its experienced teachers, and it is unfortunate that some children will receive a sub-standard education that will affect them for the rest of their lives.
It’s obvious that the jobs need to be filled somehow, but the real problem is that they even need to be filled at all.