The third and final public hearing about the proposed changes to Indiana teacher licensing standards drew more than 250 people Monday to a conference room at the Indiana State Library.
The meeting lasted more than two hours and was filled with educators speaking staunchly against Indiana State Superintendent of Education Tony Bennett's proposal.
Opponents delivered a foot-high stack of petitions signed by nearly 2,500 teachers, principals and other educators from around the state. They urged the state to hold more public hearings and allow public school stakeholders a chance to help shape the initiative.
Ball State University staff members testified against the proposals, as well as members from Indiana University, Purdue University and Butler University.
Education schools say the Department of Education moved away from dictating the number of classes taken in recent years and should not get back in the business of regulating a college curriculum. The department says education schools have piled on too many pedagogy classes and that limits are needed.
Bennett's proposal also would have prospective educators major in a subject area, such as math or English, and earn a minor in education.
Most of the speakers criticized the proposal, telling Indiana Department of Education staff members who oversaw the hearing that it had been inadequately researched and would not improve the quality of the state's teachers.
Opponents claim the proposal would cause potential teachers to not be prepared to manage a classroom, leading to a lower quality education..
"My personal opinion is that I don't think there's much to stop this from happening," Ball State University journalism education professor Brian Hayes, who went to the meeting, said. "I don't think anything said at these hearings will cause any drastic change. I could be surprised, but I don't get that feeling. I don't feel positive about it."