SALT LAKE CITY — Proposed changes to the state teacher licensure rule will exacerbate Utah’s teacher shortage and contribute to inequity among students, educators told members of the Utah State Board of Education Thursday.

Others warned the proposed changes will “degrade” the teaching profession.

A dozen educators addressed the board during a public hearing on the proposed rule, most opposing language on associate-level teaching licenses. They could be granted to applicants with bachelor’s degrees in any field who pass a background check and a test on content area.

They would also need to complete four professional learning modules created or approved by a district superintendent in the areas of educator ethics; classroom management and instruction; basic special education law and instruction; and the Utah Effective Teaching Standards.

Sarah Machol, a teacher, mother of two young daughters and a “concerned citizen,” said she has a unique perspective working as an elementary educator for a decade and a mentor to novice teachers and college students in teacher education programs.

“Decreasing the requirements to teach in Utah schools will only harm our students and the teaching profession as a whole,” said Machol.

Under the current system, novice teachers are often given “the most difficult classes in the most at-risk schools,” she said.

A teacher who has taken an alternative route to licensure would “meet an even greater challenge as they lack basic teacher training and pedagogy and the experiences of a student teacher practicum with a master teacher,” she said.

Machol added, “In my opinion, this exacerbates the teacher shortage by increasing the likelihood they will leave the profession after a few years.”

Moreover, the proposed State School Board rule “degrades the profession and it is our children who will pay the price,” she said.

Vicki Olsen, who teaches business classes at Riverton High School and is president of the Jordan Education Association, …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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