Assembly passes bills related to teacher licensure

On June 20, the state Assembly met in floor session.  K-12 education-related bills regarding initial licensure as a special education teacher and license reciprocity were each approved on a voice vote.  These bills were requested and supported by school administrators within CESA 3 and now head to the state Senate for consideration.

Below is additional information on the bills that were passed from the non-partisan Legislative Council and Legislative Reference Bureau and includes descriptions of amendments to the bills that were adopted and passed by the Assembly:

Assembly Bill 194, as amended, creates an alternative to the requirement that an applicant for an initial special education teaching license must pass the Foundations of Reading Test (FORT). Under the bill, a person may instead complete a course of study that satisfies the following requirements:

1. The course of study provides rigorous instruction in the teaching of phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and fluency.
2. A student in the course of study must receive feedback and coaching from an “expert of reading instruction”.
3. A student in the course of study demonstrates competence in phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and fluency by providing a portfolio of work.

DPI must waive the requirement to pass the FORT if an applicant for an initial special
education teaching license demonstrates to the satisfaction of the agency that he or she
successfully completed such a course of study.

Assembly Bill 195, as amended, creates an alternative method for meeting one requirement for receiving a Department of Public Instruction (DPI) teaching license based on having an out-of state license, referred to as a license based on reciprocity. Under current law, DPI must issue an initial teaching license based on reciprocity to a person who: (1) holds a teaching license from another state; (2) is in good standing in that state; and (3) has taught for at least one year under the out-of-state license.

The alternate pathway created by the bill would allow a person to receive a teaching license based on reciprocity if the person taught for two semesters, including at a private school, under a DPI license or permit, as an alternative to teaching for one year under the out-of-state license. To meet this qualification, the school district, charter school, private school or cooperative educational service agency (CESA) where the person taught must notify DPI that he or she successfully completed two semesters of teaching experience.