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Kansas School Board Delays Vote on Allowing Unlicensed Teachers in Classrooms

The Kansas State Board of Education has delayed a vote on a plan to let some school districts hire unlicensed teachers. The proposal would have affected a group of six Kansas districts, known as the Coalition of Innovative School Districts. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the board had been set to vote on the plan Thursday.

The delay came after deans of education schools at Kansas universities raised concerns, as did teachers. Nicole Meier is a Kindergarten teacher from Topeka and a Teacher of the Year finalist.

“Teaching is a profession that requires more than just knowledge of a subject. Just because you know how to read doesn’t mean you know how to teach reading,” said Meier.

Board of Ed Chairman Jim McNiece said they probably should have had more stakeholders at the table for discussions on the plan. He made clear that they’re not in a hurry to do this.

“I don’t even think it’s a step back for the coalition board, I think it’s two steps forward. We know who the partners are, they’ve got great ideas. We’ll have a better proposal when it comes back to this board then we would have had today,” said McNiece.

The innovative districts say dropping the license requirements would give them more flexibility in hiring teachers and reassigning their current ones. They say they’re focused on putting highly qualified people in the classroom.

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