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Giving thanks for blessings as Kansans -11/25/2014, 10:11 AM

Local fixes to local problems? -11/25/2014, 10:11 AM

Energy security -11/25/2014, 10:11 AM

Pipeline politics -11/24/2014, 10:04 AM

They killed Peter Kassig -11/24/2014, 10:04 AM

Going from bad to good on election night -11/23/2014, 6:38 PM

Free Speech can be shield or a sword -11/23/2014, 6:38 PM

Dodge City merger -11/22/2014, 6:38 PM

House mis-speaker -11/21/2014, 9:50 AM

Obama vs. Us -11/21/2014, 9:50 AM

Really smart conservatives love public debt -11/21/2014, 9:50 AM

Official welcome -11/20/2014, 9:52 AM

Control freaks in the U.S. -11/20/2014, 1:24 PM

How did we get here? -11/20/2014, 9:52 AM

An open letter to the GOP -11/19/2014, 10:03 AM

Successful farming -11/19/2014, 10:03 AM

Getting personal -11/18/2014, 9:15 AM

Teachers, not facilities -11/18/2014, 9:15 AM

Schoolteachers and the Legislature -11/18/2014, 9:06 AM

Water vision -11/18/2014, 9:06 AM

I see wonderful things -11/17/2014, 9:26 AM

Politics prevail over truth in Kansas elections -11/17/2014, 9:26 AM

Progress at mall -11/16/2014, 5:22 PM

Opinions on the general election -11/16/2014, 5:22 PM

Why are schools afraid of freedom? -11/16/2014, 5:22 PM

Educational fraud -11/14/2014, 9:42 AM

The American public gets smart -11/14/2014, 9:41 AM

State revenue -11/13/2014, 4:48 PM

Staying positive -11/13/2014, 2:14 PM

Democracy delusions -11/13/2014, 2:14 PM

An awesome tribute -11/13/2014, 2:14 PM

Military underpaid -11/12/2014, 2:15 PM

Success for Moran -11/12/2014, 11:54 AM

Shop wisely when you go -11/12/2014, 11:53 AM

2014: The year of no ideas -11/12/2014, 11:52 AM

Veterans Day -11/11/2014, 10:13 AM

A new start for veterans' health care -11/11/2014, 10:13 AM

Awaiting Brownback's mark -11/11/2014, 10:13 AM

Roberts and catcalls heard 'round the world -11/10/2014, 9:18 AM

Honoring all who served -11/10/2014, 9:18 AM

Brownback coalition prevails -11/9/2014, 6:03 PM

Seeing the news is necessary -11/9/2014, 6:02 PM

Immigration reform -11/9/2014, 6:02 PM

Scholar-athlete charade -11/7/2014, 8:32 AM

How about a beer and a short break? -11/7/2014, 8:32 AM

Fighting poverty -11/7/2014, 8:32 AM

Voting his mind, apparently -11/6/2014, 9:51 AM

Electing liberty -11/6/2014, 9:50 AM

UNC's troubles -11/6/2014, 9:50 AM

Fast-food pay -11/5/2014, 2:32 PM

Oil, natural gas driving security -11/5/2014, 10:20 AM

Ellis' future -11/5/2014, 10:19 AM

Family ties -11/5/2014, 10:19 AM

Quarantine questions -11/4/2014, 10:03 AM

Counting non-voter votes -11/4/2014, 10:03 AM

Low blows -11/4/2014, 10:03 AM

Take country back -11/3/2014, 4:36 PM

Big First Tea Party endorses Roberts -11/3/2014, 4:36 PM

Changing times -11/3/2014, 4:27 PM

Elect an Independent -11/3/2014, 4:27 PM

Leiker excels -11/3/2014, 4:27 PM

Watching decline -11/3/2014, 4:27 PM

Lack of respect -11/3/2014, 9:58 AM

Holding memories for Aunt Millie -11/3/2014, 9:53 AM

Playing the game -11/3/2014, 9:53 AM

Vote responsibly -11/3/2014, 9:53 AM

Sherow is change -11/3/2014, 9:53 AM

Silly season and cynical strategies -11/3/2014, 9:52 AM

No endorsement -11/3/2014, 9:52 AM

Thank you, Hays -11/3/2014, 9:52 AM

Another Koch division? -11/2/2014, 5:09 PM

A Matter of truth -11/2/2014, 5:09 PM

-11/2/2014, 5:09 PM

Leiker for House -11/2/2014, 5:08 PM

Bottom of barrel -11/2/2014, 5:08 PM

Candidate asks for support -11/1/2014, 5:09 PM

Roberts serves Kansas -11/1/2014, 5:09 PM

Face of the experiment -10/31/2014, 4:36 PM

Leiker fits the bill -10/31/2014, 4:18 PM

Ellis has a choice -10/31/2014, 3:06 PM

Health-care truth -10/31/2014, 2:55 PM

Dropping the ball -10/31/2014, 2:55 PM

Governor's tricks -10/31/2014, 2:44 PM

Ballot measures -10/31/2014, 11:10 AM

Marijuana debate -10/30/2014, 2:44 PM

Republican crossover -10/30/2014, 2:35 PM

Roberts not the answer -10/30/2014, 10:25 AM

See the signs -10/30/2014, 10:23 AM

Incumbents always win -10/30/2014, 10:23 AM

Convention center -10/30/2014, 10:23 AM

Schodorf for SOS -10/30/2014, 10:14 AM

Supermarket shenanigans -10/29/2014, 10:19 AM

Americans can fix the Senate -10/29/2014, 10:19 AM

A plea to city commissioners -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Having no price tag -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Leiker understands -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Justice doing his job -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Kansas and Greg Orman -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

'Surplus' KDOT money needed in western KS -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Ready for a budget spin -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

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SPOTLIGHT
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STEM teacher preparation

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

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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.

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