Topeka The State Board of Education on Tuesday approved regulations that would allow schools to hire teachers in certain subject areas who don't have education degrees but bring subject expertise to the classroom.
The board had been working its own proposal when the Kansas Legislature approved a bill that allowed the hires.
To qualify teaching candidates would have to meet one of three criteria:
• They have a valid out-of-state license and pass the licensure tests required by the state board.
• They have at least a bachelor's degree and at least five years of related work experience in the area of science, technology, engineering or math.
• Or they hold an industry-recognized certificate in a technical profession and have at least five years of related work experience.
The regulations were approved 8-0 by the board.
The Kansas National Education Association said the new option in hiring teachers means "classrooms are now open to those without background and training in methods and strategies critical for achievement … ." The Kansas Association of School Boards recommended caution concerning the new option.
The regulations will take effect as temporary ones, and then be subject to public comments for 120 days before the board will adopt permanent regulations.
Kansas Interim Education Commissioner Brad Neuenswander said he believed the hiring option would be used mostly in career and technical education courses.
State Board of Education Member Steve Roberts, R-Overland Park, said of the new law, "What I am really hoping is that it will give more flexibility to the hardscrabble schools that have a hard time finding people who have the technical expertise."