Lawrence school Superintendent Rick Doll is applauding changes that would allow school boards to hire teachers with subject area expertise who don't have degrees in education.
"I think this would be helpful to us particularly when we hire teachers for the new College and Career Center," Doll said.
The $5.7 million center, which is scheduled to be open for the 2015-16 school year, will house career and technical education programs offered through regional community colleges and technical schools.
Last week, the State Board of Education approved regulations for people to qualify under the new law. Those aspiring teachers will 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.
Some, including the Kansas National Education Association, have said they fear the new law will allow people who are unqualified to teach into the classroom.
Doll said that is a valid concern. "I'm not one of those who believes someone can walk in off the street and teach. On the other hand, I'm open to the fact that most people can be trained," he said.
Doll said the new law will give school districts more flexibility.
The change was part of the school finance bill passed by the Legislature in April. In addition to a funding increase aimed at meeting a Kansas Supreme Court ruling, the bill included several education policy changes.