Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas State Board of Education Allows KCK to Hire 15 Unlicensed Teachers

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas State Board of Education Allows KCK to Hire 15 Unlicensed Teachers

Article excerpt

The Kansas State Board of Education voted Tuesday to allow Kansas City, Kan., schools to hire 15 unlicensed candidates as teachers to address a shortage of licensed applicants.

Board members unexpectedly moved the vote up from July to give the candidates and Unified School District 500 enough time to prepare with certainty for the new school year. The candidates, who will teach subjects including math, chemistry and English, are undergoing intensive summer training at USD 500.

"I was not anticipating the vote, but I'm very appreciative of it so we can move forward," USD 500 superintendent Cindy Lane said after the measure passed by a 9-1 vote.

Lane told the state board her district has seen a spike in teacher turnover and last school year began the first semester with dozens of unfilled teaching positions.

Janet Waugh, a Democrat who represents Kansas City, Kan., on the state board, said the teacher shortage described by Lane isn't unique to USD 500.

"Our biggest problem right now is we are not attracting enough students to the profession," Waugh said. "The teaching profession, first of all, they're not paid enough for college graduates. Second of all, they're not as highly respected as they should be."

The state's main teachers union has repeatedly criticized the idea of hiring unlicensed candidates and warned against lowering standards to fill a shortage of educators.

"Modern classrooms require professionals who not only have background in subject matter but also training in classroom management, learning styles, student exceptionalities, curriculum development and assessment," Kansas National Education Association spokesman Marcus Baltzell said in an email. "In other words, professional educators have training in both the art and science of teaching necessary to ensure student success. …

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