I know many of us get frequent contacts from people with numerous individual variations of this lack of licensure problem. Many times it's a genuine desire to improve and contribute to something bigger. But also at times what is being sought is licensure without the broader education and skill development that lay the foundations for the license and further excellence in teaching. Sometimes this desire originates with pressure being placed on the teacher from a school district needing to compress staffing in a hurry. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on one's perspective, colleges and universities do provide broad education and career preparation in a variety of ways with a certain level of rigor. If that is desired then a university setting is the right place to seek licensure, and there can be some inconvenience associated with it, as there often is with advancement in any field.
Each individual teacher's curricular and scheduling needs are different. Some are difficult to realize in an individual setting that lacks context. In many (though certainly not all) cases when I have been contacted by a graduate who is seeking the kinds of full experience through which our institution grants licenses, it has been possible to lay out a plan to achieve it. One sometimes-successful strategy is to help the teacher communicate this to the school administration. When a school asks for new licensure, they are asking a teacher to get additional education, experience, and practice. The school is a stakeholder and has a lot to gain from finding flexible ways for an excellent teacher to earn a new license, if that is how the school can best serve the needs of its students.
There is not a simple answer for the teacher whose school has unrealistic licensure expectations. And there is also no simple answer for the teacher who seeks the fast track license. This is a price we pay for our quality practices of licensing Wisconsin music educators in specialized fields with high expectations of competence and accountability. I don't believe the answer is to allow practicing teachers to be licensed through universities without the assurance of adequate preparation. The component parts of that assurance are sometimes inconvenient. It's a difficult dilemma but I think in general, teachers, students, schools, and the profession are all better served if we maintain the integrity of the teaching license that is earned through a college or university education.
Obviously there are bigger issues at work here, too, some arising from funding gaps in public education, but those don't matter much to the individual teacher who needs a new license. Given our limitations, I think the best we can expect is to help each individual find the combination of options that will work best in their situation, including alternate offerings when they exist, so they can make educated choices. Without compromising the integrity of our licensing system, I don't think there is a single solution that fits for everyone with this type of dilemma.
On Jan 13, 2009, at 12:23 PM, Gregory Dennis wrote: