Tell DPI: Don’t Take Away Teachers’ Rights

 

In response to changes in the state budget agreement, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is proposing an overhaul to the state’s teacher licensure laws, threatening to undermine teachers’ rights in the process. DPI’s proposed provisions for limiting teacher rights create sweeping changes to disciplinary action, granting almost unlimited, unchecked discretion to school administrators over educators’ careers.The proposal creates a broad category called “boundary violations.” As vague as this terms is, if a supervisor decides that a teacher has crossed a “boundary” it could cause an educator’s license to be revoked. If that isn’t bad enough, DPI’s proposed changes also:

  • Reward teachers for informing against other teachers
  • Allow DPI to suspend teachers with limited proof
  • Create new categories of offenses leading to license revocation. For example, a teacher who engages in more than one “boundary violation” could have her license revoked.

You can help stop this outrageous attack on teachers by :

  • Attending a DPI hearing this month
  • Telling DPI how you feel about the proposed changes through comment form WEAC has created to link members and supporters directly to DPI’s offices. The online comment form is available through January 31.

There are three hearings scheduled on the proposed rules in and near Region 6:

  • Wednesday, January 17, 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.: DPI Headquarters, GEF 3, Room P41, 125 South Webster Street, Madison
  • Friday, January 19, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.: Milwaukee Public Schools, Auditorium, 5225 West Vliet Street, Milwaukee
  • Monday, January 29, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.: University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Centennial Hall, 3212 Centennial Hall, La Crosse

Background Information

WEAC leaders and staff have researched and discussed the key provisions in the DPI’s proposed licensure overhaul. You can support WEAC’s recommendations and help stop DPI by commenting on the rules today.

WEAC advises the following:

 Teacher Rights

WEAC Opposes
Creation of a broad category of arbitrary judgements called Boundary Violations that could lead to license revocation for things like:

·         A teacher discussing her personal life with students;

·         Talking with a student for a non-educational purpose; and

·         Showing favoritism.

Allowing a teacher facing revocation who reports another teacher for Boundary Violations to get a lesser penalty, similar to deals made with criminal informants.
Expanding DPI’s authority from only revocation to include reprimands and suspensions.
Opening the door for license suspension for posing an ‘imminent threat,’ without explaining the type of proof required to provide proof of an alleged threat.
Creating categories of offenses for when the DPI may revoke a license, and when it must. Instead of only felonies as cause for revocations, vague offenses such as teachers who engage in more than on Boundary Violation are subject to revocation.
Requiring a teacher who has her license revoked to prove her case for reinstatement by a higher standard than the DPI uses to revoke it.
Requiring a teacher with a revoked license must wait five years before applying for reinstatement.

 

Licensure Changes

WEAC Supports WEAC Opposes
Making 4 tiers of licensure to simplify & clarify ambiguity, providing that all current license holders

are grandfathered or given the option of expanding licensure in any or all forms as outlined in the changes.

Drastically expanding grade levels one can teach, threatening developmentally appropriate practice.
Creating out-of-state license reciprocity. Creating broad field licenses in science, music, ELA & social studies, diminishing concentrated expertise in these subject areas.
Accepting National Board Certification as acceptable indicator to qualify for teacher licensure in Wisconsin. Creating district-sponsored licensure without quality control measure in place, putting students at risk of having inadequately prepared teachers.
Providing license reciprocity for speech & language pathologists/audiologist holding clinical licenses.
Providing for internships and residencies.
Increasing flexibility around testing requirements for preservice educators to focus on core teaching method courses.