EPSB waives Rank II requirement for Kentucky teachers

Published: Aug. 20, 2018 at 11:04 PM EDT
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The Kentucky Department of Education recommends changes to teacher qualifications. Monday, the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board waived the mandatory requirement for teachers to move from Rank III to Rank II. For most teachers, that meant earning a master's degree.

"I have two months left to finish my master's and then they changed the game," Kate Gabriel, a special education teacher, said. "I will definitely benefit from my master's. My students will benefit."

It turns out Gabriel didn't need her master's degree; Not to remain a teacher, at least.

"I have mixed feelings," she said. "A lot of teachers live paycheck to paycheck, so it's hard for them to fund a degree that they are receiving, but then again, your students are lacking because you're not furthering your education."

KEA weighed in on the decision, sending WKYT a statement this afternoon.

"It certainly is undisputed that teachers are one of the more influential role models for students. Part of that modeling is respecting education for its own sake," the organization said in a statement. It has not offered a formal position on the change.

Wayne Lewis, with the Kentucky Board of education, said, "There's not evidence to suggest teachers having a master's degree leads to increased effectiveness. As such, we don't see a problem with teachers continuing their learning, earning master's degrees, continuing to move up in the ranks and we believe they'll do so because the incentives remain there, but if it's not something that is showing will lead to increased effectiveness, we don't see the rational behind requiring all teachers to go that route."

"We think it should be a choice for teachers, right? We think they should be able to pursue that master's degree when they think it's appropriate for them professionally and do it on their own timeline."

The Kentucky Board of Education said it hopes districts will offer teachers professional development opportunities as an alternative means of earning Rank 'II.

CORRECTION: This story is revised to reflect the KEA has not taken an official position on the change.