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Tennessee’s Teachers Say “No” To Licensing Shortcuts

November 13, 2008

Nashville, TN – The Tennessee State Board of Education is meeting today and tomorrow to approve a new licensing program designed to address the state’s growing teacher shortage. The proposed transitional license will allow an academic organization to design its own program for selection, training and support of new teachers.

But, Sharon Robinson, president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, says there's something missing from the plan - good old-fashioned student teaching.

"Some people will have as the teacher of their children people who are not in the least bit prepared; they simply are there because a job opening exists and school districts need to fill those classrooms."

The transitional license will likely put the least experienced teachers in under-served schools that need seasoned educators the most, says Robinson, and the state doesn’t have to look far to find those with more experience, since many neighboring states are laying off teachers.

“Why not establish a recruitment program to bring some of these experienced teachers who are already licensed into the state of Tennessee?”

So far, the state has not defined how its new licensing standards will be met. The Board of Education believes the move is necessary to shore up the dwindling teacher population. The state currently loses half of all new teachers in the first five years.

Barbara Dab/Steve Powers, Public News Service - TN