Keep eye on policy changes

Several policy changes being considered by Ohio officials have a clear purpose: dealing with shortages of trained teachers.

More flexibility and less bureaucracy normally are good things in public schools. Educators should be able to concentrate on teaching children, not complying with state regulations.

But some of the proposed changes appear to be aimed at making it easier for schools to hire and retain teachers. For example, one change would allow employment of an educator for a subject he or she is not licensed to teach.

Like many other states, Ohio is coping with a shortage of teachers. Nationwide, fewer young people are enrolling in college teacher preparation courses.

More flexibility in the rules may be necessary to address the problem in the short term. But many of the rules were established for good reasons — to ensure children are being taught by qualified people.

State legislators and higher education officials need to address the root cause of the problem, by finding ways to provide more college graduates interested in educating children.