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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

 3:52 PM 

Senate votes to expand tech education teaching license to vocational topics

The state would expand the new experience-based licensure process for teaching technical education to vocational topics under legislation the Senate approved 19-13 along party lines today.

The technical education license was created in the state budget last year to draw in more avenues to teach those subjects in Wisconsin high schools. The bill would do the same for teaching agriculture, child services, clothing services, food services, housing and equipment services, family and consumer education, family and consumer services, home economics-related occupations, health care-related occupations, business education, and marketing education.

Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, said the bill was nothing more than a “smokescreen” to cover up that schools are dropping agriculture education because districts can’t afford teachers after the state had “cut the hell out of the budgets.” She said being an expert in a field does not make someone qualified to teach and children need to learn critical thinking, not just memorize formulas.

“The only way someone could help a child do that is if they’ve studied not only the subject matter, but the process of learning,” she said.

Republicans countered the bill does not require districts to hire those who qualified to teach those vocational topics, but gives them that option. 

Sen. Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville, said lawmakers should trust local officials to decide what is best for their students. Those who would be hired to teach these topics, he said, have made a living training others in these fields.

“I’m comfortable with local control and they will make the right decision and right hires to put these people in our classrooms to provide the education needs our kids very badly need in the state of Wisconsin,” he said.


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