Spotlight: DPI ends license program

MADISON — As Gov. Tony Evers and his fellow liberals decry a teacher shortage in Wisconsin’s schools, the Department of Public Instruction “arbitrarily and secretly” removed another pathway to get good teachers in the classroom, according to state Rep. Barb Dittrich.

A DPI official calls the lawmaker’s charge “blatantly false,” but acknowledges the pathway has been removed.

Dittrich, an Oconomowoc Republican, says her office has discovered that DPI Superintendent Jill Underly nixed “Licensed Based on Equivalency,” a program that allows professionals with expertise in a specific area or those who already have had equivalent teaching experience to apply for and receive a teaching license.

DPI’s website notes the “License Based on Equivalency (LBE) pathway is no
longer available to new applicants effective August 1, 2022 due to changes in PI 34” — the state administrative Code for teacher education program approval and licensing.

“This comes at a time where I have heard for my entire four-year tenure in the Legislature that our state has a shortage of teachers. This is coupled with the fact Underly is requesting billions in new funding with her latest budget proposal,” the lawmaker said.

Underly has called for a $2.4 billion increase in funding for a public education system that has received a historic infusion of cash over the past several years, including $2.4 billion in federal COVID aid schools have been able to use for so much more than pandemic purposes. At the same time, standardized testing scores show Wisconsin students falling behind faster.

DPI communications director Abigail Swetz accused Dittrich of making “blatantly false” statements.

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