Republicans lawmakers in Wisconsin have proposed a rule change that would allow high school dropouts to be licensed to teach in public schools, which critics have slammed as "breathtaking in its stupidity."
The Journal Sentinel reported that the measure proposed by Republican state Rep. Mary Czaja was slipped into a 1:30 a.m. Legislature's Joint Finance Committee vote last week with other K-12 budget items.
According to a statement from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the new rule would require DPI to "license anyone with a bachelor’s degree in any subject to teach English, social studies, mathematics, and science."
And DPI would be required to "issue a teaching permit for individuals who have not earned a bachelor’s degree, or potentially a high school diploma, to teach in any subject area, excluding the core subjects of mathematics, English, science, and social studies."
Czaja said that the new requirements were necessary to give rural school districts more leeway when hiring staff.
But Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance Jerry Fiene told the Journal Sentinel that the change "totally destroys any licensure requirements that we have in Wisconsin."
State Superintendent Tony Evers explained to Wisconsin Public Television that the policy would drop the state's teacher standards to the lowest in the country.
"It essentially takes the licensing system out of the state's hands and puts it in 424 school districts' hands," Evers noted. "If you're a buddy of the superintendent or the principal, you go in and say, 'Gosh, I want to teach here,' he or she says yes, you've got a license."
In its press release, DPI also pointed out that the state would be banned from placing any additional requirements on school staff, including background checks and fingerprinting.
"It's breathtaking in its stupidity," Evers told Wisconsin Radio Network.
Click here to listen to more of Evers' remarks.
(h/t: Blogging Blue)