New Kansas Education Law Opens Classrooms To Unlicensed Teachers, State Faces Major Teacher Shortage

Want to teach young children, but don’t have the correct formal training, education or license?

No problem.

Kansas just waived the teacher licensing requirements in six school districts making it much easier to get a job instructing impressionable young children on the facts of life.

The Kansas State Board of Education voted six-to-four Tuesday to waive the state’s licensing regulations for schools in the Coalition of Innovative Districts including Blue Valley and Kansas City.

The decision means certified generalists with a sub-specialty, that’s most teachers everywhere, will no longer be required in every classroom. Now, experts will be allowed into classrooms to teach children.

That’s right, anyone with a college degree or professional certificate can now get a teaching job in these six Kansas school districts. The districts will offer the unlicensed teacher special certificates valid for one year allowing them into the classroom.

The extreme decision comes after a record 3,700 teachers left the state of Kansas during the summer; they either took early retirement before their pensions were gutted or left the state entirely.

Those dismal numbers resulted in the state being faced with twice as many teacher vacancies than normal this summer.

Those teachers who remain in Kansas are no longer allowed to plug in their cell phones in their classrooms or use lamps at their desk because the state needs to save on the cost of electricity.

Earlier this year, the courts found the state’s school budget to be woefully low and ordered an immediate mid-year increase.

This is the same state that was unable to keep its schools open all year because of budget shortfalls.

It’s also the same state whose governor decided the best way to balance the state’s budget was to increase taxes on the poor while lowering taxes on the rich.

Supporters of the new Kansas teacher regulations say they’ll make it easier to fill empty teaching positions at state-run schools, but the state’s teacher union says students will wind up paying the price.

The Kansas National Education Association blames the state’s low pay, eroding tenure protections, and declining bargaining power for contributing to the hostile working environment that is driving teachers away.

Nearby states like Missouri and Oklahoma have taken to putting up billboards luring Kansas teachers away with the promise of better pay, improved working environments, and sometimes even signing bonuses.

What do you think is the solution to the Kansas teacher problem.

[Photo by Chris Hondros/Newsmakers]