Friday, October 5, 2012

Out of the Frying Pan (REPA), and into the Fire (REPA II)

Update October 5th, 2012:  The REPA II hearing  took place in June where about 30 people spoke against the plan.  No one supported it.  Tony Bennett was not there to listen.  In fact, only one member of the state board was present to hear concerns.

REPA II was expected to be acted upon in August, but the vote was delayed until December.  Since it seems the first hearing was purposely held after most schools dismissed and teachers would be left unaware, one must wonder if the August vote was purposely delayed so this bill can quietly pass after the election.

June 8th

This summer, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) is recommending even more changes to the Rules for Educator Preparation and Accountability (REPA II) despite warning cries again from all directions; State Superintendents, Indiana’s Music and Art teachers, advocates for special education, and the Dean of Education at Indiana University, who recognizes REPA II as "nothing less than the de-professionalization of teaching."

To start at the beginning, in 2010 the IDOE passed REPA.  REPA originated from flawed sources: The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) grade of “D” for Hoosier teacher preparedness; the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requirement for “highly effective teacher training”; and Race to the Top (RttT) requirements to compete for federal funds.

The NCTQ grade of “D” was a sham.  Diane Ravitch, former Assistant Secretary of Education and historian, notes NCTQ was established by conservatives solely to break the power of traditional teacher training institutions by creating alternative certification routes.  The NCTQ received millions of dollars in grants from then Bush administration’s Secretary of Education Rod Paige.  NCTQ in turn used the money to create its own online teacher preparation program (one could become a teacher for just $1,995.)  The fact is the NCTQ is not an independent source qualified to assign grades to states; it is extremely biased in pushing a federal agenda gaining a reputation as “bully reform.”

Like the phrase “No Child Left Behind” itself, the justification for REPA as requirement of “Highly Effective Teacher Training” was intentionally a duplicitous term.  As NCLB is replaced, most recognize it as a “decade of failure”.   Now RttT follows a similar blueprint, but the IDOE continues to use it as an assault of public education.

Among the justifications for REPA in regards to RttT was that Indiana had limited nontraditional pathways to teacher certification and did not tie student achievement to teacher performance.  Both justifications are based on failed logic.  The nontraditional pathways are often end around measures to allow private corporations to profit from teaching programs. Their overall results have been poor.   According to IUPUI, teachers trained at traditional institutions have more significant impact on learning than those who are not. 

When REPA came around the first time, the public was justified in their outcry.  All over the nation, states are performing all manners of triage as they attempt to tie student achievement to teacher performance in an effort to compete for RttT funds. These measures have not improved schools, especially those most in need. 

To quell tremendous public opposition that REPA would deskill the profession of teaching and validate itself for passing the rules, in 2010 the IDOE produced this Myth vs. Fact  document.  Here are three statements the IDOE then claimed to be myths, but with REPA II will become facts:

The REPA proposal allows persons to teach who have no field experience.

Under REPA II this will now be true.  Any college graduate with a 3.0 or higher GPA and having passed a certification test can teach.

Under the REPA proposal, elementary and secondary teachers would be eligible for licensure with certification from the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE), a certification program designed specifically for career changers.

At the time, the IDOE stated this as the fact:  “ABCTE is not a program approved by the proposed rule. The rule does not approve any new alternative programs at this time. Rather, the proposed rule allows the board to review new alternative programs at a later date to determine whether such options are suitable.”  According to the first myth-turned-fact above, that ‘later date’ has arrived.

The proposed changes to the licensing rules, if adopted, will undermine the teaching profession and be harmful to education in Indiana.

The public outcry in 2010 from those intending to salvage public education from its current dismantling by Tony Bennett and the IDOE saw the writing on the wall.  No doubt, the Myth vs. Fact  document helped persuade the education board to vote for its approval. 

Before this year’s vote, let’s hope the education board also considers voices like that of State Representative Randy Truit, who is recognizing that the education reform bills he voted for with good intentions were maligned by an overreaching IDOE.  He wrote this letter, republished in the Journal Gazette, with twenty-one bullets questioning different aspects of the speed, volume, and necessity of recent IDOE actions.

Truitt was absolutely correct in his concerns, and unless the public advocates saving public education this summer, REPA II will be another swift overreaching change by the IDOE, which has become more of an instrument to dismantle public education for the sake of "commodifying" children and less of a government service to provide them a good education. 


Please visit this page where the REPA II public comment form can be found on the IDOE website to make your voice heard.

For an excellent list of points of concern, visit the post on Save Art Education .

Here is the link to the  public hearing date.

Here is the entire 53 page document  concerning REPA II.

You could site this Research Brief from IUPUI

Here is the Education Board members 
to contact about REPA II
Tony Bennett
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Room 229 State House
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 232-6665
First Congressional District
363 S. Lake Street
Gary, IN 46403
(219) 887-2626
Second Congressional District
Jo Blacketor 
59701 Myrtle Road
South Bend, IN 46614
(574) 532-4841
Third Congressional District
Cari Whicker        
Riverview Middle School                              2465 Waterworks Road                       Huntington, IN 46750                                     (260) 356-0910 
Fourth Congressional District
Sarah O’Brien
River Birch Elementary School
5456 East 75 North
Avon, IN 46123
(317) 544-6800
Fifth Congressional District
IU Health Fairbanks Hall #6210
340 W. 10th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Sixth Congressional District
Michael Pettibone
Adams Central Com. Schools
222 W. Washington St.
Monroe, IN 46722
(260) 692-6193
Seventh Congressional District
Daniel Elsener
Marian University
3200 Cold Springs Road
Indianapolis, IN 46222
(317) 955-6100
Eighth Congressional District
Signature School
610 Main Street
Evansville, IN 47708
(812) 421-1820
Ninth Congressional District
James Edwards
826 Balthazar Drive
Santa Claus, IN 45759
(812) 544-2276
David Shane
54 Monument Circle
Suite 800
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 237-2279

And here are the names of Indiana State Representatives and Senators on the Select Commission to Education overseeing the board.

Robert Behning:

Rhonda Rhoads:

Timothy Brown:

Edward Clere:

Dave Frizzell:

Kathleen Heuer:

Cindy Noe:

Jeffrey Thompson:

Greg Porter:

David Cheatham:

Clyde Kersey:

Vernon Smith:

Shelli Vandenburgh:

Dennis Kruse, Co-Chairperson:

Carlin Yoder:

James Banks:

James Buck:

Luke Kenley:

Jean Leising:

Scott Schneider:

Earline Rogers:

Frank Mrvan:

Tim Skinner: 


  1. Let's hope the education board is familiar with the quote, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

  2. Excellent post! and great blog! Thanks for all you're doing to get the word out there!

  3. Says it all, and says it all very well.