Wednesday, 13 March 2019 17:04

McInnis bill would ease requirements for out-of-state teachers coming to NC

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ROCKINGHAM — A former Richmond County Board of Education member and current legislator has introduced a bill to combat teacher shortages across the state.

State Sen. Tom McInnis on Monday introduce Senate Bill 219, which would modify teacher licensure requirements by allowing for additional options of certification to highly qualified teachers.

According to McInnis’ office, the bill would require the State Board of Education to grant a North Carolina teaching license to individuals who move to North Carolina with a current license to teach — and are in good standing — from another state without further testing after proving their effectiveness in the classroom.

“As a school board member before being elected to the N.C. State Senate, I witnessed firsthand the effect of the teacher shortage in our state, especially rural North Carolina,” McInnis said in a statement. “It is my belief that this legislation will give the authority to hire highly qualified teachers back to the local superintendent and school board.”

The bill also provides teachers more options to obtaining their full license aside from the passing of one single test, preventing teachers who have proven themselves to be highly effective from being removed from the classroom, according to McInnis’ office.

Public Schools First NC, a statewide nonpartisan, nonprofit organization focused on public education issues for pre-K through 12th grade, cites statistics from the UNC System which show enrollment in undergraduate education programs has decreased 41 percent in the past decade.

“Decline in enrollment for all levels of education majors, including master’s level, is 25 percent,” reads a section on the group’s website about state’s teacher pipeline. “There are 15 UNC system schools with teacher preparation programs, and all are reporting declines in enrollment in their degree and licensure programs. The severe shortage of math and science teachers and middle school teachers for all subjects is a critical and growing problem.”

“It’s time that we use every effort to make sure that no classroom suffers from a vacant teacher position in our state,” McInnis said. “We cannot allow our students to be shortchanged in their educational endeavors due to the inability to hire great teachers because of one single testing requirement.”