House Education Committee Approves Teacher Licensure Changes
Elizabeth Yelverton | NCASA Legal Affairs & Policy Manager
The House Committee on K-12 Education discussed and approved three bills on Wednesday, including a bill which would modify teacher licensure requirements. Senate Bill 219, sponsored by Sen. Tom McInnis (R-Richmond), creates a new “limited teaching license” for individuals who were issued an initial professional license (IPL), but do not meet the criteria for a continuing professional license (CPL). This three-year, nonrenewable license could be requested by the local board of education currently employing the individual, with an affidavit stating the teacher’s effectiveness, signed by both the principal and superintendent for the school in which the teacher is currently assigned. Notably, and upon a request from the N.C. Association of School Administrators (NCASA), the latest version of S219 removes a problematic requirement found in previous versions of the bill that would have made school districts located in a Tier 3 Area with a population of more than 100,000 ineligible to use the new limited license for retaining some teachers.
The latest version of S219 also incorporates certain provisions from House Bill 521, sponsored by Rep. Ashton Clemmons (D-Guilford), by creating a three-year, nonrenewable transitional license (TL), which can be issued to an out-of-state applicant while the applicant pursues his or her CPL. The bill requires local boards of education to determine the experience levels for individuals with transitional licenses, so that they may be appropriately paid on the State salary schedule for teachers. According to the bill sponsor, these proposed teacher licensure changes should help local education agencies (LEAs) that continue to struggle to recruit and/or retain qualified teachers, especially LEAs in rural parts of the State.
In addition to approving S219, committee members also approved Senate Bill 500, which modifies requirements for advanced math course enrollment. Some committee members expressed concern over the bill’s elimination of the requirement that high-performing 7th grade students be enrolled in a high school math course in 8th grade. Bill proponents argued the high school math curriculum taken by high-performing students in 8th grade has changed since the requirement was created, noting students may now be unprepared to take the advanced course under the new high school math curriculum.
In addition to changing the advanced math course requirements for 8th grade students, the bill would also require local boards of education to offer “advanced learning opportunities” for high-performing students in 3rd-5th grade, as well as require the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to submit annual reports on the demographics of students eligible for enrollment in advanced math courses.
NCASA would like to thank Sens. McInnis and Clemmons for their leadership in helping address the State’s worsening teacher shortage, as well as their willingness to work with NCASA to make improvements beneficial to all school districts. Both S219 and S500 were approved by committee members and are expected to be added to the House calendar in the days ahead for further discussion and voting.