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Indiana students need qualified educators

Teaching is one of the most important professions in our society, as most people receive a standard K-12 education before branching off on specific career paths.

Unfortunately, in our state and country, there is a shortage of people who are both willing and able to provide this education foundation.

One factor contributing to this shortage in Indiana is that teaching candidates, even those who excelled in the classroom, are struggling to pass the licensing exams required of them. This has not always been the case.

Five years ago, Indiana changed from a nationally administered licensing exam to a customized exam, which teaching candidates are repeatedly failing. Not only is this keeping potentially great teachers out of the classroom, but some schools are resorting to hiring substitute teachers because licensed teachers are not available. Substitute teachers are only required to have a high school diploma.

To address this issue, I authored Senate Bill 532 this session, which would require the State Board of Education to replace the current Indiana teacher licensing exams with new nationally administered exams.

Under the bill, the Indiana Department of Education would be required to implement the new exams by Sept. 1, 2021.

SB 532 recently passed the Senate unanimously and will now move to the House of Representatives.

If passed by the House and signed by the governor, I believe this bill would have a positive impact on our students, schools, communities and state. Our students should be taught by qualified teachers, as the education they receive early on in life can have a direct impact on their future careers.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns regarding this or other topics, contact me by email at Senator.Leising@iga.in.gov or by phone at 800-382-9467.

State Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg).