INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow K-12 schools to grant adjunct teaching permits to prospective instructors.

The Indiana House and Senate have each worked on bills to create these permits: House Bill 1251 passed the House Monday, and Senate Bill 356 is expected to receive a vote Tuesday.

Indiana’s teacher shortage remains a big burden on many schools. Roughly 700 teaching positions are currently open statewide, according to officials.

“We want to create options and flexibility for our school administrators,” said Tim McRoberts, associate executive director of the Indiana Association of School Principals.

McRoberts’ group and several others support the creation of adjunct teaching permits.

“We definitely are seeing even more of a teacher shortage when it comes to special education, and we have more emergency permits in special education than we do in other courses,” said Hannah Carlock, public policy director for The Arc of Indiana.

Under the bills being considered at the Statehouse, adjunct teachers would need a certain amount of work experience in the subject they want to teach. Districts would decide whether permits are granted.

Under State Sen. Linda Rogers’ (R-Granger) bill, those teachers would only work on a part-time basis.

“Just supplementing the current teachers that we have in our schools,” Rogers said. “As an example, if, let’s say, a school corporation wants to offer an advanced chemistry or advanced physics.”

Opponents are concerned about the quality of education students would receive under adjunct instructors.

“Though someone may have content knowledge in a specific area does not mean that they also have the training for how to interact and work with students,” said Keith Gambill, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association.

Gambill said he is also worried about how this could impact pay for full-time teachers.

He and others say they believe there are better ways the state can try to address Indiana’s teacher shortage.

“We need to do a better job of letting our young folks know that the teaching profession is a noble profession,” said State Sen. J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis).