House Ed Committee Reviews Teacher Certification, Seat Time Waivers

Bob Kefgen's picture

House Ed Committee members this past week heard testimony on five bills – meaning no votes were taken. Four of the bills heard would revise teacher certification requirements. The fifth is aimed at reforming the seat time waiver process. Those bills were:

  • HB 4645 & 5013 – plans to eliminate provisional teaching certificates and continuing education requirements for teacher certification. Instead, under the bills, teachers would be granted a permanent teaching certificate with no requirement for continuing education in order to maintain it.

  • HB 5241 –plan to allow majors in accounting or writing to count toward certification.

  • HB 5392 – plan to change pupil accounting rules with the aim of simplifying the seat time waiver process and thereby allowing local districts more flexibility in offering online classes. As currently written the bill would accomplish this by eliminating the day and hours requirements for all schools, but a workgroup is currently meeting to hammer out less drastic alternative.

  • HB 5393 – plan to change the requirement that districts provide 5 days of professional development to instead require that they offer 30 hours of professional development.

The Committee’s discussion centered largely on HB 4645 and 5013. Committee members expressed concern with the cost of continuing education and the financial burden it places on new teachers.

Brad Biladeau from MASA and Don Wotruba from MASB both spoke their concern with the plan's carte blanch elimination of CEUs, particularly since the state requires continuing education for a host of other professions from realty to social work.

Lisa Hansknecht from MDE emphasized that the plan runs contrary to new teacher certification rules developed in the wake of Governor Snyder’s special message on education and the resulting changes in state law.