Wisconsin’s top education official is offering up harsh criticism for a state budget provision that would relax state standards for obtaining a teaching license.
The measure, added to the budget last week by the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, would allow anyone with a bachelor’s degree to be licensed to teach math, social studies, science, or English in Wisconsin schools. Anyone with relevant experience, but not necessarily a degree, could teach other subjects. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers says it’s a terrible idea that is just “breathtaking in its stupidity.”
AUDIO: Sup. Tony Evers (:26)
The language was added to the budget as part of a large omnibus motion taken up by the Joint Finance Committee late at night.
The measure did not indicate who requested its inclusion, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said it came at the request of Rep. Mary Czaja (R-Irma), who argued it’s intended to make it easier for rural school districts to fill vacant positions. Evers says there are other ways to address that issue though, and the budget proposal would cause far more harm to the quality of education in Wisconsin if it’s allowed to stay.
Czaja’s office did not respond to a message seeking comment.
Evers argues the change would give Wisconsin the most relaxed licensing standards for teachers in the nation and would be a recipe for disaster. “It essentially says whoever you hire will be licensed, and for me that’s a huge step in the wrong direction.”