Teacher licensing may change

December 25, 1992|By Mark Bomster | Mark Bomster,Staff Writer

Prospective teachers would have to complete a four-yea degree program in the arts and sciences and a year of "professional development" in education to get their Maryland teaching license, under a regulation proposed by the state Department of Education.

The proposal, given to the State Board of Education last week, also would open new avenues for those in other professions who want to enter teaching.

But it could be months before the board approves a final version, pending comments from local school systems, state colleges and universities and teacher groups.

The proposal from state school Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick parallels one on teacher training issued several weeks ago by the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

The commission proposed scrapping the undergraduate education major at the state's colleges and universities, requiring students instead to get a four-year degree in the sciences or liberal arts and complete a year-long teacher training program.

The commission's proposal still awaits public hearings, and would require approval from the state's teacher colleges and the state board.

"Taken together, the commission and department plans have the potential to revolutionize the way we identify, prepare and license teachers," Dr. Grasmick said in a prepared statement.

But the proposals are far from final at this point.

Members of the state board, for example, saw the proposed regulation for the first time last week.

"They were real skittish about saying they supported it or didn't support it," said Ronald Peiffer, a spokesman for the education department.

He predicted "a protracted period of discussion" on the issue of teacher training and licensing, both at the state board and at the higher education commission.

Officials of the Maryland State Teachers Association were unavailable for comment yesterday on the proposal.

Among the specific requirements in the proposed teacher training and licensing regulation:

* Completion of a four-year undergraduate degree in the arts and sciences, intended to make sure that teachers have a well-rounded education as well as background in a specific subject.

* A fifth year of study intended to develop a teacher's skills as an educator, including experience in a school, which could take the form of a teaching internship.

* More options for people who want to enter teaching from other professions, a high-priority for the board. Two years ago, the board approved a program allowing college graduates to get temporary teaching certificates while completing additional course work and internship requirements.

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