Dropped from budget, but efforts under way with Department of Public Instruction
Updated: Thursday, May 31st, 2012 | By Tom Kertscher
As a candidate for Wisconsin governor in 2010, Republican Scott Walker made promises in a five-page plan to improve schools.
One was to "streamline the licensing process and open the door to aspiring teachers with real world experience."
In February 2011, within weeks of Walker's inauguration as governor, the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute called for an overhaul of teacher licensing.
Among other things, the conservative think tank said professionals considering a career change to teaching are discouraged because the license requires "completion of approved training programs requiring, normally, at least two years of full-time enrollment in education coursework."
Walker introduced his 2011-2013 state budget in March 2011. It included a provision requiring that charter school teachers need only a bachelor's degree to teach, rather than a teacher's license.
The change would have been an incremental step in terms of meeting Walker's promise, given that charter schools comprise a small percentage of all public schools.
In any case, in April 2011, a Walker ally, state Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, said the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee, which she co-chaired, would not consider the charter teacher licensing measure as part of the budget.
Separately, however, the governor's office has had a number of meetings with the Department of Public Instruction, said Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie. The plan is for DPI to develop a series of assessments to measure teaching candidates" content knowledge and their ability to teach, he said.
DPI is run by state Superintendent Tony Evers, who is independently elected. Walker has said he and Evers are not aligned politically but that they have attempted to work together.
DPI spokesman John Johnson said DPI is developing a license for people aspiring to be teachers who have demonstrated teaching and/or work experience directly related to the license they are seeking.
That would go directly to Walker's pledge on teacher licensing.
We rate this promise In the Works.
Wisconsin Public Research Institute, "Teacher Licensure in Wisconsin," February 2011
WisPolitics.com, Sen. Alberta Darling news release about 2011-2013 budget, April 20, 2011
Email interview, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction spokesman John Johnson, May 30, 2012
Email interview, Gov. Scott Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie, May 31, 2012
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