Kansas State Board of Education to vote on proposal to hire unlicensed teachers

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The Blue Valley and KCK School Districts might soon be able to hire teachers who are not licensed.

The Kansas State Board of Education will vote on the proposal Tuesday as a way to help fill a growing number of teacher vacancies. If it passes, KCK and Blue Valley could begin hiring professionals in other fields to teach at their schools.

For instance, they could hire a journalist to teach journalism classes or an accountant to teach math. But there is concern that hiring unlicensed teachers could be bad for students since they are not trained in how to handle and teach a classroom full of kids.

The proposal would only affect the six innovative school districts in Kansas, which includes Blue Valley and KCK. The districts are allowed to opt out of most state rules regarding education to try new things to improve student achievement.

Applicants would still have to follow a  rigorous hiring process that includes a background check, and every year the school board would vote whether to renew their teaching certificate.

Supporters point to the disturbing trend of teachers leaving the state of Kansas at an alarming rate. So far this summer, more than 3,700 teachers have either left the state of Kansas,  retired or left the educational field altogether, which is almost double from four years ago.

The reason so many teachers are leaving Kansas includes spending cuts, low pay and a general hostility many feel from lawmakers. Also, many school districts in Missouri are actively recruiting Kansas teachers and many are leaving schools in Kansas to work at schools in Missouri.