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Show and Tell

Iowa school leaders think it's high time that teachers start hanging their licenses in their classrooms, much like doctors and lawyers who display their credentials in their offices.

The Iowa Board of Educational Examiners is crafting regulations that are expected to encourage—and possibly require—teachers to post those licenses in public view.

At first, board members saw the idea as primarily a symbolic move, designed to foster professionalism in the teaching ranks. Anne E. Kruse, the executive director of the board, said it was seen as a way to say, "We are proud of our professions."

"You go into a physician's, chiropractor's, or dentist's office, and the first thing you look for is their current license," she said.

But now, the board also sees displaying teachers' licenses as a chance for the public to learn about the preparation of instructors, Ms. Kruse said, adding that it could help identify teachers whose credentials have expired or who are teaching outside their fields.

Putting teachers' licenses in plain view can help reassure parents, especially because of the "strong connection between the endorsement of a teacher and student achievement," she said.

While the 11-member board has approved the concept of having teachers post their licenses, logistical questions need to be resolved before the rule can be adopted, according to Ms. Kruse. Officials hope such regulations will take effect next year.

The board hasn't decided if it will require teachers to post their credentials. Among the issues to be considered is how to enforce such a rule, and how so-called "traveling teachers" could display their licenses without permanent classrooms.

Still, the board is already revamping the licenses' appearance to make them more attractive.

The plan is for teachers to receive the made-over licenses when they renew their certificates, and to have the option of paying $10 for new ones to replace licenses that are still in effect.

—Karla Scoon Reid

Vol. 21, Issue 4, Page 22

Published in Print: September 26, 2001, as State Journal

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