www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Running for the wrong bus -7/28/2014, 9:04 AM

Old Old Mexico -- Culture and content -7/28/2014, 9:03 AM

The defining issue of economic recovery -7/27/2014, 4:53 PM

In a world of sectarian violence, what can be done? -7/27/2014, 4:53 PM

Funding DHDC -7/27/2014, 1:18 PM

Endorsement for Shultz -7/25/2014, 3:28 PM

Against the wind -7/25/2014, 4:23 PM

Do blacks need favors? -7/25/2014, 4:23 PM

Vote Huelskamp out -7/25/2014, 4:23 PM

Open meetings -7/24/2014, 8:07 AM

Leadership change needed -7/24/2014, 8:07 AM

Vote for Huelskamp -7/24/2014, 8:06 AM

Protecting unborn children -7/24/2014, 8:06 AM

Learning experience valuable -7/24/2014, 8:06 AM

False equivalence -7/23/2014, 8:07 AM

Measles' scary comeback -7/23/2014, 1:27 PM

The 'big data' deal -7/23/2014, 10:07 AM

GOP can't get out of its own way -7/23/2014, 10:07 AM

War only will add to Middle East problems -7/22/2014, 8:10 AM

Avoiding taxes -7/22/2014, 8:10 AM

Take the win in Iran -7/21/2014, 8:57 AM

The high court's high-handedness -7/21/2014, 8:57 AM

Up in arms in the Capitol -7/20/2014, 4:52 PM

Firefighters weigh in on pay raise -7/20/2014, 4:52 PM

Backpacks for Kids -7/20/2014, 4:52 PM

Our unwillingness to defend ourselves -7/18/2014, 10:51 AM

Remembering a man who championed freedom -7/18/2014, 10:51 AM

GOP split -7/17/2014, 8:38 AM

New Kansas senator -7/17/2014, 8:37 AM

Who'll build the roads? -7/17/2014, 8:37 AM

Reagan: In or out? -7/16/2014, 2:45 PM

'Unbroken' WWII vet more than a hero -7/16/2014, 2:44 PM

Savor the fruits of your labor -7/16/2014, 2:44 PM

Erasing candidate's standards -7/15/2014, 11:36 AM

Returning to Trail Wood -7/15/2014, 10:13 AM

Leaving some in 'suspense' -7/15/2014, 10:13 AM

Strangers in a remarkable land -7/14/2014, 9:11 AM

Courageous or spineless? Our actions decide -7/14/2014, 9:11 AM

Ambition: An unlikely gift to Kansas voters -7/13/2014, 11:16 AM

Beyond the outrage -7/13/2014, 11:16 AM

Water watch -7/13/2014, 11:16 AM

Scenic outlooks -7/11/2014, 9:18 AM

China's research trumps teaching -7/11/2014, 9:17 AM

Important slow news -7/10/2014, 9:42 AM

We've got a promise to keep -7/10/2014, 9:33 AM

The white combine calls -7/9/2014, 10:02 AM

Vote for family values -7/9/2014, 10:02 AM

Politicians making a mockery of my faith -7/9/2014, 10:02 AM

Missing tribute -7/9/2014, 10:02 AM

Rural students deserve 21st Century education -7/8/2014, 9:10 AM

The education table dance -7/8/2014, 9:10 AM

A new virus -7/8/2014, 9:10 AM

Government as God -7/7/2014, 9:38 AM

EPA affecting others -7/7/2014, 9:38 AM

'Narrow' decision from the narrow-minded -7/7/2014, 9:38 AM

The tax trap -7/6/2014, 4:35 PM

Rulings produce 'First Amendment fireworks' -7/6/2014, 4:35 PM

Firefighter salaries -7/6/2014, 4:35 PM

Economic freedom -7/4/2014, 11:54 AM

Protecting our independence -7/4/2014, 11:54 AM

Dan Johnson, 1936-2014 -7/3/2014, 7:12 AM

New Iraq offensive backfires -7/3/2014, 7:11 AM

Setting things straight -7/3/2014, 7:11 AM

'Crapitalism' -7/3/2014, 7:11 AM

Feeding peace throughout the world -7/2/2014, 9:01 AM

Half way is still only half way -7/2/2014, 9:01 AM

Sherow a better choice -7/2/2014, 9:01 AM

Fireworks, part II -7/2/2014, 9:01 AM

Reality show made in Topeka -7/1/2014, 8:53 AM

The justices and their cellphones -7/1/2014, 8:53 AM

LOB defeated -7/1/2014, 8:53 AM

Tragedy explored in 'Broken Heart Land' -6/30/2014, 9:14 AM

Mexico City: The adventure continues -6/30/2014, 9:14 AM

Even our youngest Americans are citizens -6/29/2014, 12:58 PM

Ban on fireworks -6/29/2014, 12:58 PM

It's time to teach active citizenship -6/29/2014, 12:57 PM

The education establishment's success -6/27/2014, 10:39 AM

Piecework professors -6/27/2014, 10:39 AM

Marriage for all -6/27/2014, 10:39 AM

Prairie chicken madness -6/26/2014, 4:17 PM

Omission control -6/26/2014, 10:12 AM

Equal in the eyes of the law -6/26/2014, 10:12 AM

Help wanted -6/26/2014, 10:12 AM

The old red barn -6/25/2014, 9:19 AM

Beware the unimaginable -6/25/2014, 9:19 AM

Early critic of school testing was right -6/24/2014, 8:53 AM

Finding something 'different' in Topeka -6/24/2014, 8:53 AM

Shopping small -6/24/2014, 8:53 AM

Into the classroom -6/23/2014, 8:55 AM

Wow! And thanks to you -6/23/2014, 8:55 AM

Fireworks double-standard -6/23/2014, 8:55 AM

Glass half full -6/22/2014, 5:57 PM

Brownback's experiment wallops taxpayers -6/22/2014, 5:56 PM

Examining the importance of 'where' we speak -6/22/2014, 5:56 PM

Slavery reparations -6/20/2014, 8:33 AM

'Help me plagiarize' -6/20/2014, 8:33 AM

Thank a farmer -6/20/2014, 8:33 AM

Here comes tomorrow -6/19/2014, 8:43 AM

Why Americans dislike soccer -6/19/2014, 8:43 AM

Switching to teaching -6/18/2014, 4:32 PM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

STEM teacher preparation

Published on -5/8/2014, 9:33 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

While much discussion of Kansas legislative action on school funding has focused on issues of teacher tenure, another item needing attention is the added language regarding STEM Teaching licensure, coming from Section 7, which includes the following:

"Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an applicant shall not be required to complete a teacher preparation program prior to licensure as a teacher if ... the applicant has obtained at least a bachelor's degree in the subject matter area of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, finance or accounting."

Evidently, this Section 7 add-on would extend teaching licensure to individuals who have STEM-related backgrounds (science, technology, engineering, math) but no preparation or experience in teaching.

Such a proposal is problematic and dangerous to our quality of education in Kansas. We would not simply give a medical license to someone with a biology degree. We would expect a doctor or medical professional to have extensive preparation and training in the specific skills and principles of medicine, ethics and patient care. In the same way, we must hold our classroom teachers to high expectations of formal preparation and training in the pedagogical skills, professional responsibilities and psychological principles of learning and teaching.

Current teacher licensure requirements include extensive preparation and coursework in both content (e.g. science, math, etc.) and education (pedagogy, psychology and learning, methods, assessment, management, etc.). Extensive research throughout history has found both areas are necessary for effective teaching and successful student learning (e.g. Abell, 2007; Borrowman, 1956, 1965; Gage, 1972; Goodlad, 1990, 1994; Harper, 1939; Ingersoll, Merrill & May, 2012; National Research Council, 2007).

The Kansas State Department of Education requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of content coursework (e.g. science, math) for prospective teachers seeking licensure to teach a particular subject. In most cases, teacher preparation programs in universities and colleges require even more credit hours and coursework in content subjects. For example, Wichita State University requires 43 credit hours of chemistry and related science courses for the Chemistry Education (grades six to 12) licensure program. Students often are within a handful of classes from getting a second degree in straight chemistry content; in some instances, students complete degrees in both science education and science content. In other words, new teachers enter the classroom with more than sufficient preparation in their content field.

If concerns arise about producing enough teachers to fill high-needs classrooms (e.g. STEM areas), there are multiple endeavors here in the state of Kansas that recruit and prepare individuals to become effective educators.

* Wichita State University has one of the leading "alternative licensure" programs in the nation, called Transition to Teaching, in which individuals who already possess a content degree and work experience can be classroom teachers while completing education-related coursework (pedagogical methods, psychology, etc.).

* Pittsburg State University also has an alternative licensure option, in which individuals with a bachelor's degree in a content field can earn a master of arts in teaching along with their teaching license.

* Another alternative program is UKanTeach at the University of Kansas, in which individuals complete both a degree in science or math content and complete a modified teaching certificate program.

Kansas State University offers a graduate certificate program in which individuals already possessing a bachelor's degree in their content area can earn a teaching license in one year.

These are just some examples of the many options in Kansas for preparing teachers with both subject content and teaching skills.

We encourage Kansas leaders and citizens to thoroughly study this issue and seriously consider the ramifications of filling our schools with individuals who have no formal preparation in child psychology, adolescent development, teaching methods and strategies, foundations of education or professional ethics. Such a scenario is not in the best interest of our children and state.

Daniel Bergman is president of the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science.

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos