Reckoning with Hammers and Mallets: Indiana’s Approach to Licensing English Learner Teachers


  • Trish Morita-Mullaney Purdue University



language policy, Indiana, language management, educational policy, English learners, bilingual education, English Learner licensure


            INTESOL has actively advocated for appropriate certification and training of Indiana’s EL teacher workforce, informing the policy of the Indiana English Learner (EL) Teacher of Record. The Indiana EL Teacher of Record requirement, established in 2019 by the Indiana Department of Education asserts that by 2022, all Indiana school districts will have an established 30:1 ratio of EL students to EL-licensed teachers meeting the minimum criterion of two Supreme Court cases, Lau v. Nichols (1974) and Castañeda v. Pickard (1984). The Indiana Department of Education, the funder of this policy, granted accredited universities in EL education to train and license educators, increasing the overall capacity of districts to meet the needs and rights of their ELs with appropriate staffing and programming. While efforts to meet 30:1 goal are still in progress, Indiana’s approach has contrasted with other states who addressed such licensure initiatives with a heavy hammer, whereas Indiana has done it with a softer mallet. Implications for universities, districts, and families are discussed.

Author Biography

Trish Morita-Mullaney, Purdue University

Dr. Trish Morita-Mullaney is an  Assistant Professor at Purdue University, where she teaches ELL licensure and certificate courses.  She also provides professional development for the Wabash Valley Educational Center and other regional education center throughout Northern Indiana.  She formerly served as an ELL district administrator in the MSD of Lawrence Township in Indianapolis, Indiana and the Indiana Department of Education’s division of English Language Learning.  Her research interests examines the intersection between the field of ELL and educational leadership.


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