With the elections behind us, leaders of both parties have called for national unity. In his concession speech, Gov. Mitt Romney called for government at all levels to put the people before the politics. I hope that will be the case here in Indiana, where the people have spoken about the pace and direction of education reform.
Perhaps one of the first tests will be the Rules for Educator Preparation and Accountability II (REPA II) proposals now before the state Board of Education. This body, chaired by the superintendent of public instruction, is scheduled to meet Dec. 5 under the current administration. Though the agenda has not been announced yet, indications are they’ll consider REPA II.
REPA II changes would lower standards for teacher and school leader preparation in the state. For example, REPA II would make it possible for someone to become licensed to teach just by taking a standardized test. It would also lower academic requirements to become a school principal. REPA II would de-professionalize teaching at a time when our students need great teachers most.
During the required period of public comment on REPA II, more than 99 percent of Hoosiers who submitted testimony spoke against the proposals. The state board should defer action on REPA II until Superintendent-elect Glenda Ritz is inaugurated. Then, under her leadership, it should table REPA II for good.
Approving a policy so overwhelmingly opposed by citizens of Indiana would not be putting people before politics.
Gerardo M. Gonzalez
Dean, School of Education