WI Gov Walker silent on bill that allows dropouts to teach, shreds teacher licensing

34 comments

by Félix Pérez

It’s gotten so bad when it comes to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his allies in the state legislature, that little comes as a surprise anymore. Until now, that is.

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Under a provision slipped last month into the state budget proposal at 1:30 a.m., anyone with a bachelor’s degree could be licensed to teach the sixth- through 12th-grade core curriculum: English, math, social studies and science. Currently, licensure requires middle and high school educators to have a bachelor’s degree and a major or minor in the subject they teach, completion of intensive training on skills required to be a teacher, and successful passage of skills and subject content assessments.

Most alarming, the provision would allow individuals who have not earned a bachelor’s degree, or potentially even a high school diploma, to teach any non-core curriculum subject, provided the district, public school or private voucher school determines that the individual is proficient and has relevant experience.

WEAC Kippers
Teacher, WEAC President Betsy Kippers

The deregulation of licensure standards has drawn pointed criticism from educators.

Racine, Wisc., teacher Betsy Kippers, president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, said in a statement, “We can’t accept the idea that lowering standards is going to bring us better-qualified teachers.” She added, “Requiring educators to prove their skill and ability to teach students is a moral obligation. Wisconsin already offers different paths to become a teacher that still meet high standards, because every child should have a caring, qualified and committed teacher with a solid background in how to teach, along with what to teach.”

Wisconsin’s top education official offered a stinging assessment of the proposed change. In an interview with the Wisconsin Radio Network, Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers said:

It’s breathtaking in its stupidity. What it does is it essentially ends teacher licensing in the grand scheme of things. It creates a system that goes against all research that says teachers should be adequately prepared and competent.

Evers said in a statement, “Learning about how children develop, managing a classroom and diffusing conflict among students, working with parents, and developing engaging lessons and assessments that inform instruction — these are the skills our aspiring educators learn in their training programs. Teaching is much more than being smart in a subject area.

WI Evers
WI Superintendent Tony Evers

“This motion presents a race to the bottom,” Evers continued. “It completely disregards the value of the skills young men and women develop in our educator training programs and the life-changing experiences they gain through classroom observation and student teaching.”

The sponsor of the language, Republican state Rep. Mary Czaja, said the measure will give rural schools flexibility in finding teachers in hard-to-fill subjects. When pressed, however, Czaja could not cite a single rural district that has requested such flexibility.

In fact, Jerry Fiene, executive director of the Wisconsin Rural Schools Aliance, told the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, “This totally destroys any licensure requirements that we have in Wisconsin. It’s very concerning.”

Modeled after a proposal by Walker, who is touring the nation in preparation for an expected run for president, the budget provision would give Wisconsin the dubious distinction of having the least stringent teacher licensing standards in the nation. Asked last week whether he supports the change, Walker would not comment.

The state budget proposal is not final. Both houses of the legislature, controlled by Republicans, must pass it, and Walker must sign it.

The teacher licensure provision follows a Republican legislative proposal to expand a voucher program, which would shift $600 million to $800 million of taxpayer money from public schools to private schools over the next 10 years.

“It is so clear that Republicans in the state Legislature are selling out Wisconsin kids, families and neighborhoods to support Gov. Walker’s presidential ambitions and reward the out-of-state special interests that give millions to Republican campaigns,” said state Rep. Sondy Pope.

Reader Comments

  1. I know we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but Gov. Walker LOOKS as stupid as he acts. This man has NO business making public policy, ESPECIALLY in education. Would you let a plumber perform your next surgery; of course not… the plumber is trained in a different area.
    Training is everything in every profession and education is no different. It is obvious that Gov. Walker is not well educated or maybe he isn’t capable of learning very much… his mind is too closed.

  2. You couldn’t make this stuff up–some people earned their position in life and others are like Mr. Walker who quit college and never finished –and who has never accomplished anything in his life other than to hurt others by his misguided policies that are funded by the RICH–for he has nothing to offer other than loyalty–and the sad thing is that is w America works today–money talks and can make even a simpleton like Walker get elected–but the revolution is coming–the 1% better run while they have the chance–the people who work and who have made this country will stand it no longer–just watch–coming soon–T

  3. First step eliminate teacher licenses,second step eliminate education standards, third step allow any private school to open its doors without credentials of any kind, and you have achieved schooling prior to 1900. Nepotism reigns supreme, public schools have no relevance, and we fall behind the rest of the world as we become the worlds most ignorant people.

  4. Let the governor and all the uneducated teachers teach French. Translate this to qualify: ” Le Idiot”!
    Pardon my French.

    1. Let Governor Walker teach French? I wouldn’t let him teach my dog to fetch. What’s more: I don’t think he could.

  5. And, as a note, Let’s make sure we elect this idiot and take all of these dumb ideas to Washington DC so we can all get a piece of the action. . . . .

  6. It should be clear by now that Walker is the epitome of a GOP profit protecting shill for corporate/financial-sector special interest. He would offer up his blue-collar, working class citizens in his “Right to Work” (for less) State, along with the public sector workers as sacrificial lambs on the alter of Wall Street gods by cut, cut, cutting his way to prosperity. Everyone has heard the narrative; You can’t tax the “job creators,.” The GOP has gotten a lot of mileage out of that rhetorical sound bite over the past 35 years of “supply-side,” trickle-down economics!

    How do he and his the GOP get away with it? Answer: By running on disingenuous, deceptive rhetorical monikers (brought to you by well connected, Right Wing think-tanks like ALEC, Heritage Foundation, Free Congress Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, etc., etc., etc.) that mix the truth with lies. Their mantra of tax breaks (who doesn’t like a tax break) for the “hard working tax payers” (truth- commoners are working harder for less pay and longer hours). The deception: That somehow his corporate/financial-sector profit protecting policy, bought and paid for by Super PACs and leagues of lobbyists, and their “advisors” that educate our Representatives at legislative hearings, will all make life better for his State’s voting public. What a game! IMHO, it is high time we return to “demand-side” economics like those old enough to remember witnessed during the boom years beginning in the late ’40s and running through the decades of the ’50s, ’60s, and into the ’70s.

    These GOP shills are all the same!

  7. what is really sad he rapes money from the public schools and gives them out as vouchers for private schools. sorry if you want your children to go to a private school pay for it yourself. I did for many years while paying school taxes. when it became too expensive my children went to public schools. and when i hear that the private schools don’t want certain kids in their schools. I still pay taxes and don’t have any kids in school. Time to stop this man from gutting our state for his monied friends wishes

  8. This whole idea makes me sick! It doesn’t provide “flexibility for rural districts”, it provides school districts a scapegoat or another excuse for not providing quality educators to those in rural areas. The idea that teaching is easy and that anyone off the street can do it (those without degrees or degrees in other professions) is ridiculous! Sadly many districts pull in substitutes who are non-certified and many of these individuals don’t know how to teach at all. It will be a sad day in Wisconsin education reform if this bill gets passed.

  9. Of course Walker won’t comment! The guy’s truly a coward. And I believe a lot of people who voted for him are having voter’s remorse right now. Unfortunately, the damage he is doing to this once great, proud state is incalculable and will take decades to recover from when we finally do get rid of all these idiots.

    1. The completely insane thing is, people the from Wisconsin actually bought into all the crap promoting him, they voted for him, and they put him in office. Then, they reelected him. I have very suspicious feelings about our whole election process, with redistricting and voter purging going on. Every voting person should be able to log onto the FEC website and verify that their vote was cast for the person they actually voted for, and that it was actually processed and not purged. Same for state elections. If a persons vote was purged, there better be a good reason why, if not, their vote needs to be added back into the election, which could alter the final outcome. As it is now, when we go vote who knows how our vote is actually being tallied, if it even is. There are numerous examples of how people’s votes were purged if they just happen to have the same name as someone else, in some cases they even had a different middle name. That is criminal!

      He looks like a moron, everything he says is pretty much an attack on the everyday working person (like all Republicans), and, it is well known, and shown, he is just a well paid puppet for special money interest.

      It is pathetic how TV, and the media in general, can so easily control the public. For some reason it seems like most people never doubt the least bit what they see, and hear, they just automatically join the gang, be one of the popular crowd, or what they’re being shown is the popular crowd. The Regan administration (more like the wealthy industries actually running the show)knew what they were doing when they deregulated TV, the various forms of media, and the advertizing industry with their communications act.

  10. Wake up America…including Republicans!! This is a intentional systematic breakdown of public education by the GOP and special interest to shift tax payer funds to for profit corporations operating charter schools. These laws are in place to breakdown public education so the GOP can justify their propaganda of poor performing public schools when the data proves public education works and provides quality learning. We know what your doing GOP and you are now being called out.

  11. Scott Walker is not only de-funding education at an alarming rate but he is also pulling this crap. Teaching is more than just having a proficient knowledge in a subject. There is a lot of specialized training involved. Would a teacher who hadn’t had adequate training know how to educate special needs children, children with behavioral issues, children with health problems? No, they would not.

    So he’s wrecking Wisconsin’s education system from top to bottom, the children and adults in this system aren’t going to get a decent enough education to prepare them for the kinds of jobs that you can actually make a living off of. He’s also siphoning away funding for financial aid programs that many students rely on to attend technical colleges. We’re going to be looking at a generation of kids that will be prepared to only work minimum wage jobs. And yet here’s the same man, Scott Walker, saying that prevailing wage is okay. You can afford everything you’ll need on minimum wage as it stands, and besides, minimum wage jobs are for high school kids and drop outs. If you finish high school and go to college like you’re supposed to than you won’t need to worry about minimum wage. Well, in Wisconsin’s near future, high school and college (if you’re lucky enough to be able to pay for it) won’t amount to jack sh** because of what this moron is doing to the education system!

  12. Governor Scott Walker and his cronies are trying to disempower the educational system so they can take it over and privatize education for monetary gain. They can’t take over a system that is strong , but a system that is weak can be knocked over with a push of breath.

    1. Exactly! Declare a state of emergency in education, be it in individual districts or statewide, and do exactly as you stated. And when it happens, there will be no public discussion/input allowed, as is happening with just about everything the Repubs are doing in Madison right now. Throw the thugs out!

  13. Gov Walker might consider solving the many problems that actually exist. A state’s department of education can grant an emergency substitute teaching certificate if there is no fully qualified licensed educator. Generally, these are granted to individuals who meet most of the requirements. Often the individual is completing a final course or such but on their way to being fully qualified.

  14. If it makes the people of Wisconsin feel any better, Michigan is headed towards this same kind of leadership stupidity. These actions prove that the legislators are out of touch with children and families. That they NOTHING about education. Maybe because they know any moron could do their job, they think that applies to all professions. Let’s see how many doctors, nurses, accountants, judges, lawyers, and other professionals they try this nonsense on. It will be none. Education is the only field that they feel the need to bash on.

    1. Michigan’s legislature, the GOP side, is totally useless. Not only are they out to screw up education forever, they also can’t reach a sensible agreement to fix the roads. Just another full time legislature doing a PEE Poor part time job. All at taxpayer expense!!

  15. In some fields at local colleges and universities, there are some adjunct professors who teach some unique courses who do not have college degrees or high school deplomas. Some of their subjects are: computer construction, computer coding, cryptoanalysis, and machinery (as in the use of lathes, ban saws, diesel engine repair, to name a few). They provide excellent courses. Perhaps NEA should not gereralize, for exsample: “All generalizations are false, including this one!”

    1. As a New Jersey resident, I am not aware of any higher education institution who hires adjunct professor without a college degree. You have changed the focus of the discussion from early education to higher education; from the educational needs of children and teens to those of adults. Were any of your family’s or your own teachers in K-12 grade without a college degree? What state do you live in?

    2. And if you truly valued education, you might be able to handle ban(d) saws and examples. The jobs you describe, while valuable to society, do not require an education. They merely require job training. And I truly hope that those providing the training are just as skilled and competent as we want our public school teachers to be.

    3. Carol, we are talking about public education up to grade 12. College courses are different. You must pay for and choose to take them. College is an advanced and therefore more diverse education. What worries me is that our next generation will NOT be prepared at even a basic level to compete in the global world. Our public education system will be decimated, only the wealthy will ba able to afford a good education, and our children will suffer the consequences.

  16. I would like to send Gov Walker ( from the Prescott Bush family tree)
    a free ticket to fly on a non -licensed airline, where pilots are not required Welcome aboard you moron~!

  17. It never fails to amaze me at what stupid things some politicians do to try to control every source of life of the average person– from stripping Social Security and Medicare, food stamps, education, who can and cannot marry??? And some of us sit back and allow it to happen. This piece of legislation basically says anyone can teach. Well let’s start with these politicians– let them try teaching for a day. Many if them would not last an hour. And we blame teachers for what’s wrong with education. Hell no- it starts with politicians coming up with stupid ideas like this! Would they try this with doctor’s???!

    1. You ask, about trying to have physicians take care of the public without a medical license? Well, its’ sort of happening now. When was the last time you went into an emergency room and saw an actual physician? Nowadays, the ER’s are staffed by Physician Assistants (P.A.’s). They don’t have the same medical licensure that physicians do but they are practicing medicine the same as licensed physicians. Supposedly they are practicing “under” a physician’s license but you never see the actual physician. It saves the hospitals and doctor’s practices money. Is that what Gov. Scott Walker is trying to do in Wisconsin, save money as well as gut the Teacher Credential program? Sad!!

  18. I am an educator in Arizona. One of the main reasons teachers leave the profession is the lack of administration backing in the classroom. Students who refuse to follow directions should be given the consequences of removal of the classroom, or even have the parent come and sit with the child. Not only that but, basing a teacher’s pay upon how well another person tests, in this case a child, is utterly ridiculous! For example, if you teach fourth grade you are relying upon how well a nine or ten year old tests.

    If you want highly qualified people to stay in education, you must pay them what they are worth, and support them in the classroom!

    As for dropouts, some of them get their GED at the age of 16, go to the College of William and Mary, and get their MAED at the University of Phoenix. Do not count anybody out! Educated them,

  19. And just when people thought things in Wisconsin could not get any worse, now they will have uneducated people teaching uneducated kids. Doesn’t that make everyone in Wisconsin feel good. What a state with idiots and soon kids will be nothing but idiots to. Put a fence around it and keep the gates shut.

    1. Oh please let some of us who realize how stupid this is out first!!! Believe me, my assemblyman and state senator hear from me often, but they don’t believe they can and should think for themselves anymore. How sad.

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