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New state policy removes masters requirement for teachers

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On August 20, the Kentucky Educational Professional Standards Board voted that teachers no longer need a masters degree to become certified. This change means younger teachers who are actively working towards their masters are no longer required to do so.

According to amateur whistleblower and BCHS teacher Travis Blankenship, this removes a lot of steps in the process of becoming a certified teacher. “In the past, a teacher would have had 10 years after their initial certification (Rank III) to obtain a masters degree (Rank II),” he said. “You had to start the process and acquire 10 or 15 graduate school credits before the end of your first five years of teaching to renew your Rank III certificate. Now, experience or 6 graduate hours will allow you to renew that certificate, from what I can see.”

This does create a better atmosphere for teachers. They no longer have to work for a degree they may not want, nor do they have to deal with the mounting debt that comes with it. According to Blankenship, this can also greatly help our poor little backwater school: “For districts, especially rural ones, they can save money on teacher pay by not paying Rank II salaries.”

The new policy does come with some concerns, however. Now that teachers no longer need a masters degree, they also do not need the learning skills that come with a masters degree. Without the old policy in place, teachers may never pursue knowledge that was once previously required. There are even concerns about the effects on pay, as masterless teachers do not necessarily qualify for the same salary as those with said degrees. Blankenship believes, “Some folks have been concerned about what it could do to overall teacher pay in the state, but I won’t speculate on that.”

It is unknown whether BCHS will heed the words of the very “education friendly” state government and hire teachers without masters. Most teachers at the school do have masters or are working on masters, and Blankenship has a naïve hope that teachers will continue to pursue masters degrees despite the actual problem of debt and stress not being solved. Regardless, the change is here to stay until further notice.

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The Student News Site of Berea Community High School
New state policy removes masters requirement for teachers