Three model legislative bills intended for state legislatures would hamper the use of teacher licensing power as a cudgel to enforce ideological conformity.
The example legislation, drafted by the National Association of Scholars (NAS) with eight other policy organizations, is designed to be introduced in state legislatures as a package.
NAS’s “Model Education Licensure Code,” which includes the three model bills, is an essential part of education reform “because radical activists use education schools and licensure requirements as their central means to gain power over America’s classrooms,” NAS said in a release.
“Radical activists long ago seized control of education schools and began to insert ever-more radical ideology and pedagogy into teacher training,” the release states. “The radicalized education schools both propagandize would-be teachers and screen out would-be teachers who refuse to assent to radical dogma.”
The so-called education establishment, made up of countless foundations, accreditors and bureaucracies, has crafted a system that ensures its parties remain in power. By tying teacher licensing to graduation only from education schools they approve, they make certain they stand forever unopposed by differing viewpoints, shutting out any potential for internal reform from graduates with new ideas.
Thus, dissent from reform-minded educators is steadily crushed under the implicit and explicit threat of lifting the teacher’s license for not exhibiting the proper ideological, social and political views.
The model legislation seeks to break this stranglehold on educational employment.
The three bills in the package are the Education Licensure Nondiscrimination Act; the Education Licensure Review Act; and the Education Licensure Certificate Act.
The Education Licensure Nondiscrimination Act depoliticizes education licensure requirements by depoliticizing the materials required.
State boards of education would no longer be permitted to apply for, or accept, funds from external organizations that tie funding to politicization, or similar narrative-driven materials. The same restriction would apply to individual school districts as well. The professional development requirements teachers must meet to retain licensing and accreditation would have to be similarly apolitical, showing no preference for social or cultural bias.
When unacceptable programs or curricula are discovered, school systems frequently sidestep responsibility by blaming it on the need to meet required standards for licensing and professional development as dictated by the schools of education, or other outside professional groups with which they are aligned. This model legislation eliminates that excuse by eliminating such alignment agreements.
The bill further prohibits discrimination in licensure based on “group-identity.” Stacking the racial, cultural or sexual-identity deck to engineer a particular outcome in hiring and licensing would be made illegal.
The Education Licensure Legislative Review Act would require all existing licensure requirements, and any future revisions, to be submitted to the state legislature and governor for review and possible veto. The legal obligation for state policymakers to review and veto objectionable state education certification criteria would force the entire process into the open.
Finally, the Education Licensure Certificate Act simplifies the entire licensure process by refocusing undergraduate courses on subject matter content, followed by standardized testing on subject matter content alone, to determine the would-be educator has met core competency.
Ideological indoctrination promises to be curbed, and membership in various professional organizations, including teachers’ unions, would no longer be a permissible prerequisite to certification.
Additionally, the Certificate Act forbids a state’s education board from including other requirements not directly related to the teaching certificate.
Once politics have been expelled, the whole legislative package ensures they aren’t reinserted administratively by a co-opted bureaucracy.
The Code is jointly sponsored by the National Association of Scholars, California Policy Center, Californians for Equal Rights Foundation, Goldwater Institute, The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, the John Locke Foundation, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, The Palm Beach Freedom Institute, and the Washington Policy Center.