Problems Unresolved in House-Passed Career Pathways Alliance Bills

Bob Kefgen's picture

On Wednesday, the House passed a package of legislation nominally aimed at enacting the recommendations of the Career Pathways Alliance, though some of the final bills that passed bear little or no resemblance to the actual recommendations. The original legislation was amended heavily before it passed the House Workforce Committee on Tuesday and was then amended again on the House floor in order to garner the votes needed to pass. Passage through the House was only the first step for this legislation so the details of the bill package are likely to continue changing…hopefully for the better.

Here is a breakdown of the bill package as it stands now.

HB 5139 would originally have required that students take a new, state-developed, standalone career course in the 7th or 8th grade. The bill was amended to instead require that districts incorporate some form of career development instruction at least once per grade level (i.e. elementary, middle level, and high school). The form and content of this instruction would be left entirely to district discretion, though MDE would be required to develop standards and model instruction that districts could adopt or adapt if they wanted. Similar to other recent bills of this type, the legislation is not a requirement for the individual student to take this instruction, but rather for the school to incorporate and offer it.

HB 5140 began as a requirement that schools collect and distribute the names and contact info of students whose parents opted in to having their children’s info shared with skilled trades employers, proprietary schools, community colleges, and others. The bill was amended at one point to alleviate a portion of the paperwork nightmare that this would create for schools, but was changed back to its original form at the end in order to garner the votes needed to pass the House.

HB 5141-42 originally would have expanded the authority districts have to hire uncertified teachers by lowering the education requirements for uncertified teachers in CTE and the industrial arts. The bill was amended to allow these uncertified teachers to remain in their positions indefinitely—even in situations where a certified teacher is available—without requiring that they ever pursue certification. While attempts to address Michigan’s teacher shortage by lowering standards are concerning enough, allowing these individuals to remain indefinitely without obtaining certification makes these two bills the most concerning part of the package.

HB 5145 would require MDE to develop standards for teachers to use externships or time spent engaging with local business or employers to count as professional development time (SCECHs), which could be used to renew a teaching certificate. The details of what this policy would look like are unknown since the standards have yet to be developed, but the bill requires that educators (including secondary principals) be consulted in its development.

MASSP had some initial success in alleviating problems with the bill package, but unfortunately, the final versions of some of the bills that passed the House Wednesday are still as big of a problem as where they started. Fortunately, the whole package must still make it through the Senate and further debate and changes are likely during that process.

MASSP will continue to keep members informed as the bills progress.