Education , Higher Education
Ray Carter | October 13, 2022
Groups say reforms could attract teachers, reduce leftist influence
Policy groups from across the nation, including the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, are calling for reforms to state teacher-licensure processes to increase the number of qualified candidates and reduce the control of left-wing ideologues over access to the teaching profession.
“Education reformers must include education schools and education licensure in their reform agenda, because radical activists use education schools and licensure requirements as their central means to gain power over America’s classrooms,” said National Association of Scholars director of research David Randall.
The National Association of Scholars, California Policy Center, Californians for Equal Rights Foundation, Goldwater Institute, The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, the John Locke Foundation, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, The Palm Beach Freedom Institute, and the Washington Policy Center have jointly released a Model Education Licensure Code.
The Model Education Licensure Code provides three model bills that state policymakers can use to reform education schools and the education licensure process—the Education Licensure Nondiscrimination Act, the Education Licensure Review Act, and the Education Licensure Certificate Act.
The Education Licensure Nondiscrimination Act would make it illegal for a state board of education to impose teacher-licensure requirements that require educators to “practice, adopt, favor, or affirm a belief in” any “discriminatory concepts” such as the “systemic nature of racism,” the “multiplicity or fluidity of gender identities,” “social justice” concepts that divide “identity groups into oppressed and oppressors,” or any “pedagogy that involves social or public policy advocacy.”
The Education Licensure Review Act would require legislative review and approval of any education-licensure requirements adopted by the State Board of Education.
The Education Licensure Certificate Act would require the State Board of Education to create new education licensure pathways for each teaching and administrative certificate. One of the proposed new certificates would require no more than eight undergraduate courses, of which at least six must be courses in subject matter content and no more than two courses in education pedagogy. Those certified through the new process would have to pass a standardized test in which at least 80 percent of questions must assess subject matter content. Individuals licensed through the new certificate process would still be subject to standard background checks.
Officials said the reforms will address a longstanding problem in state education systems, noting that activists long ago seized control of college schools of education and have inserted ever-more radical ideology and pedagogy into teacher training.
Brandon Dutcher, senior vice president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, noted that activists have used “education licensure requirements to force teachers and education administrators to receive degrees from education schools.”
Over time that has deterred many mainstream individuals from pursuing a teaching degree. Only those willing to endure programs rife with ideological content are eligible to receive traditional teaching certificates in most states, which contributes to the growing disconnect between parents and schools.
“Education reform cannot succeed so long as the radical education establishment controls the education of our teachers,” said Martin Center president Jenna Robinson. “Policymakers in each state should adapt these model bills to forward education reform most effectively.”
“These three reforms together will work to make it possible for a new generation of liberty-minded teachers to enter the classroom,” said Dr. Terry Stoops, the director of the Center for Effective Education at the John Locke Foundation.
“Our students deserve access to great teachers, and those teachers deserve a clear and direct path into the classroom—one free from bureaucratic barriers and relentless political indoctrination,” said Matt Beienburg, director of Education Policy & the Van Sittert Center for Constitutional Advocacy at the Goldwater Institute. “In a time where cries of ‘teacher shortages’ abound, there is simply no justification whatsoever to bar effective educators from the classroom unless they first submit to academically barren and politically radical programming. These model policies will help wrest control away from the ideological gatekeepers who currently oversee and operate our primary teacher-preparation pipelines, and help return teacher training to more academic fundamentals.”
Director, Center for Independent Journalism
Ray Carter is the director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism. He has two decades of experience in journalism and communications. He previously served as senior Capitol reporter for The Journal Record, media director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and chief editorial writer at The Oklahoman. As a reporter for The Journal Record, Carter received 12 Carl Rogan Awards in four years—including awards for investigative reporting, general news reporting, feature writing, spot news reporting, business reporting, and sports reporting. While at The Oklahoman, he was the recipient of several awards, including first place in the editorial writing category of the Associated Press/Oklahoma News Executives Carl Rogan Memorial News Excellence Competition for an editorial on the history of racism in the Oklahoma legislature.