Dropouts May Get to Teach High School in Wisconsin

“It essentially says whoever you hire will be licensed, and for me that is a huge step in the wrong direction,” Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers said on the Wisconsin Radio Network. “It is breathtaking in its stupidity.”

“This represents a race to the bottom,” Evers said.

Teachers unions don’t like this either. The Wisconsin Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association, is on Evers’ side in this debate.

UW-Madison student Briana Schwabenbauer, an aspiring teacher and a member of the Student WEA, has launched an online petition asking lawmakers to “Say NO to lowering teaching standards in Wisconsin.”

“I felt discouraged when I first heard of this proposal,” Briana said. “It was belittling to hear not just one person, but an entire committee of people sing the out-of-tune song that anyone can teach.”

A Wisconsin public school teacher wrote on Rep. Czaja’s Facebook page, “I've been teaching for 25 years and have impacted hundreds of students. No degree needed to do my job? Shame on you.”

Another follower of her Facebook page asked Czaja, “I know how to cut, sew, use a band aid, give out Tylenol. Does that make me qualified to be a surgeon? Pretty sure the answer is no. How could we, as a society, think anything less of teachers and teacher licensure?”

Czaja did not respond to either Facebook comment.

But if this survives the budget debate in the Wisconsin Legislature and is blessed with a signature from Gov. Walker, fear not high-school dropouts, you could have a well-paid future (but not too well paid as long as Gov. Walker is in office) in a Wisconsin public school classroom.

And, that is exactly what Tony Evers and his Department of Public Instruction, along with unionized teachers, are afraid of.

“If you’re a buddy of the superintendent or the principal,” Evers said on a Wisconsin Public Television show, “you go in and say, ‘Gosh, I want to teach here,’ he or she says yes, you’ve got a license.”