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Teachers across the state raise concerns over new required training

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Posted at 6:52 PM, May 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-08 18:52:26-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A sea of red filled a conference room in the Government Center on Wednesday. Teachers were raising concerns over an 80-hour training requirement laid out by the state.

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"Many teachers who have the parent license who do not teach in the elementary schools at all and do not teach reading to have to go back to school to earn the hours and endorsement just to be able to keep their license,” Keith Gamble, President of the Indiana State Teachers Association, said.


Back in 2023, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation that requires schools to teach the science of reading. They are trying to improve reading scores in the state.

According to ISTA, when Indiana passed the science of reading, the effort was to ensure that elementary school teachers in grades K-5 were fully instructed in the science of reading and were able to teach the it in their classroom.

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However, this requirement is impacting teachers who don’t even instruct reading classes.

If they don’t get the certification, they could end up losing their license, causing them not to be able to teach at all. The law requires teachers to take 80 hours of training on the science of reading and pass an exam.

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"I teach seventh grade math, I have nothing to do with literacy endorsement. I have to take my own time in the summer to complete 80 hours of course work and also take the praxis test," Brandon Stagnolia, seventh grade math teacher in Austin, Indiana, said.

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The Praxis test is a standardized test teachers must pass.

Teachers like Stagnolia says this requirement won’t make him a better educator, especially since the majority of the time, teachers are expected to do the training in their own free time.

He says his district is offering $15 an hour to do the training. He has a Master’s Degree and has been in the classroom for several years. He says the kids he teaches make more than that an hour at some summer jobs.

"It's actually going to take time away from me professionally, spending time lesson planning, creating strategies for math,” Stagnolia said.

According to ISTA, several schools have already been implementing training on the science reading but it's unclear if that training will be counted towards the required 80 hours.

The Indiana Department of Education says they are working with teachers across the state.

"We are working directly with educators. Many times it's even a one-on-one basis or listen and understand what training's they have had,” Dr. Katie Jenner, Secretary of Education for Indiana, said.

The department of education says teachers have three years to finish the 80 hours of work or lose their teaching license. Students studying to become teachers are required to take course work on the science of reading.

The DOE says it is now drafting more specific language for educators, so they know which science of reading trainings will count and which ones won't.

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