Earlier today, a waiver that removes Master’s degree requirements from Kentucky teachers was approved by the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB).
This is the first major action of the newly-consolidated EPSB, which was formerly an independent board. Per Interim Commissioner of Education Wayne Lewis’ recommendation earlier this month, the EPSB was placed under the oversight of the Kentucky Department of Education.
“EPSB’s waiver is a positive step for districts and teachers,” said Lewis in the news release from KDE. “While many teachers will continue to pursue Rank II with either a Master’s degree or through a continuing education option, they will now be permitted to make the choice to do so and to pursue that advancement on their own personal and professional timelines.”
I wrote earlier this year about the consequences of dropping the Master’s requirement, and called it “a win for school quality.” While it’s tempting to just assume that teachers with advanced degrees are more effective, it’s not quite that easy: evidence shows that teachers with Master’s degrees aren’t actually any more effective than those without.
The EPSB’s removal of the requirement won’t affect salary bumps for those teachers who currently hold a Master’s degree, nor those who are in the process of earning one.
There will always be highly-motivated teachers out there who will still choose to pursue an advanced degree, but it’s certain that this move will lead to fewer Rank II teachers over time. With the funding that Kentucky stands poised to save from this move, I certainly hope that we’ll reinvest into our schools by offering quality professional development for our teachers, purchasing textbooks and instructional resources for students, and continuing to investigate new ways to improve our schools for all students.
Photo courtesy of Berry College, CC-Licensed.