Putting Education Quality at the Top of the Priority List

For too many years, the Indiana Chamber has been fighting an uphill battle in its various education reform initiatives. A number of other like-minded organizations have come and gone – and support from the second floor Statehouse offices of the Indiana Department of Education has been tepid, at best, and probably better described as missing in (in)action.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett promised a new day on the campaign trail and when he assumed office earlier this year. The latest in his series of changes for the better is today’s call for altering teacher licensing procedures to improve quality and increase flexibility in the hiring of school administrators.

Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar offered the following statement:

“It’s proven in business every day that there is no longer just one route to effective organization leadership. Indiana school corporations cannot afford to close their doors to superintendent and principal candidates that do not possess the traditional education background.”

Brinegar, also a school board member in Noblesville, adds, “All school boards will have the opportunity to select the top person for the job. Degree, testing and licensure requirements – along with the abilities of elected school board members – will ensure that only the best will be placed in crucial school leadership roles.”

Regarding teacher licensing changes, Brinegar comments:

“The Indiana Chamber has represented the business community in the education arena for many years, advocating for teacher professional development and higher educator compensation. Eliminating any roadblocks to improving teacher quality will help avoid pending teacher shortages in key subject areas, make the state eligible for additional federal funding and, most importantly, help guarantee that our young people are receiving the best education possible.”

Preservers of the status quo will say that this opens the door to anyone and everyone to enter the classroom and the school leadership world. What it is doing is giving principals and the citizens we elect as school board members the flexibility they need to do their job and provide the best teachers and leaders for our students. Remember, that’s the mission here – giving those young people the best chance possible at future success.