LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Eliminating plastic straws is a good first step

In response to Leo Morris’ editorial, “Confessions of an Anti-Straw Man” on August 23, 2018:

Mr. Morris,

Thank you for helping to make the point of our #nostrawplease campaign. You are correct that plastic straws only make up a small amount of the total plastic pollution in our waterways. They are a great first step for someone to start thinking about how their actions add up to make a difference. We hope that our fun fish video and outreach efforts will spur our residents to reduce other types of single-use plastic from their daily lives and to spread the word to friends and family all over the country and even the world!

Watch for the next phase of our program, where we ask people to take another important small step in reducing plastic pollution as a way to contribute to protecting the natural resources all people share. We’re very excited!

Allen County Department of Environmental Management

Addressing Indiana’s teacher licensing exams

In my time as State Senator for District 17, countless teachers and teacher candidates have brought to my attention the flaws in our state’s required teacher licensing exams. Pass rates have continued to drop over the years, preventing those with a passion to educate from entering our classrooms and contributing to Indiana’s teacher shortage.

To ensure we are letting qualified individuals into the classroom, I authored Senate Enrolled Act 387 last session.

SEA 387 requires the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) to issue a request for proposal (RFP) for Indiana’s teacher licensing exams. This RFP will be issued by Nov. 1, 2018, and could lead to new licensing exams. Additionally, the law requires the IDOE to report to the General Assembly which teacher licensing exams are available for the state and whether candidates are required to pay for the exams.

Under the law, the IDOE is also required to post the pass rate of licensing exams for each college’s teacher preparation program on its website. This will give those wanting to enter the teaching profession more information on the various programs and help them decide what college is best for them. It will also help the state hold our teacher prep programs accountable.

I hope this law will break down barriers that currently prevent too many passionate young Hoosiers from entering the teaching profession in Indiana. I will continue to stay on top of this issue — it is critical to have qualified, passionate teachers in our state. I welcome Hoosiers’ input on this topic.

Senator Andy Zay

District 17