WEAC leads efforts to bring teacher voice to proposed license changes

WEAC is leading efforts to build understanding and bring forward teacher voice on proposed changes to the state’s teacher licensure law, PI-34.

“We’ve already been in follow up discussions to make the proposed changes to the licensing system better, and get at the goal of easing the teacher shortage,” said WEAC President Ron Martin, an eighth grade teacher. “We’re making headway and the next step is a direct conversation with teachers about how the plan would impact teachers who work directly with students every day. WEAC has slated a statewide tele-town hall at 6:30 p.m. Monday, January 15 for teacher-members. The call will feature experts to outline proposal, give insider perspective into ongoing discussions to improve the plan to better serve students, and collect teacher input.

“Nobody knows better than teachers what works for students, and that includes making sure every student has a school staffed by qualified, caring educators,” Martin said. “WEAC is the trusted expert for teachers, and have been involved heavily in discussions around the licensing system provisions all along the way.  The next step is for members to get all the information and then take informed action as professionals. That’s why we’re reaching out with the tele-town hall, and also collecting written input to bring forward as a united organization so the DPI can hear directly from teachers.”

WEAC has already begun to seek assurances from the DPI that all current license holders are grandfathered or given the option of expanding licensure in any or all forms as outlined in the changes.

The proposed changes to the licensure system were crafted with input from education stakeholders, including WEAC, and represent collaboration between education groups. The proposal would:

  • Create four tiers of licensure to simplify and clarify ambiguity.
  • Create out-of-state license reciprocity.
  • Accept National Board Certification as an acceptable indicator to qualify for licensure.
  • Provide license reciprocity for speech and language pathologists/audiologists with clinical licenses, a logical step to address the educator shortage. This proposed change further illustrates that the Educator Effectiveness matrix does not fit every educator license category.
  • Provide for internships and residencies, effective methods to address the teacher shortage. The proposed changes appear to reflect current statewide practice.
  • Increase flexibility around testing requirements for preservice educators to focus on core teaching methods.
  • Expand grade levels one can teach.
  • Create broad field licenses in science, music, ELA and social studies.
  • Allow school districts to endorse candidates for a teacher license. WEAC is working to ensure that the DPI or a higher education institute with a DPI-approved teacher preparation program would be involved with any license issuance, so the quality of education isn’t diminished for students.

Members are encouraged to mark your calendars for 6:30 p.m. Monday, January 15 for the latest developments as WEAC continues to collaborate on the changes and to prepare to offer professional perspective on the proposal. To provide your input in writing, click here.

Read WEAC’s overview of the proposal