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New Approach to Teacher Preparation Introduced in House

Mitch Albers

By Mitch Albers, MASB Assistant Director of Government Relations

DashBoard, Feb. 28, 2018

House Republicans introduced a package of legislation to establish standards that teacher preparation institutions must meet in order to be certified by the State Superintendent. House Bills 5598-5605 would prohibit the superintendent of public instruction from certifying a teacher preparation instruction unless the institution’s program meets certain criteria, requires faculty within the teacher preparation program to undergo continuing education in a K-12 classroom, as well as create financial incentives for mentor teachers who work with student teachers and create a master teacher corp. The package was introduced on Feb. 20, 2018, and will receive its first hearing in the House Education Reform Committee on Thursday.

HB 5598, sponsored by Rep. Daniela Garcia (R-Holland), requires all full-time faculty members training teachers in teacher preparation programs to complete at least 30 hours of continuing education per school year. The continuing education must be specific to the subject area the faculty member teaches, as well as include teaching experiences in any type of K-12 settings—including urban and rural settings, teaching pupils who are English Language Learners and who have a disability, and within a district with a population of pupils living in high poverty. The continuing education requirements also include an introduction to the teacher evaluation tools used by school districts, intermediate school districts and public school academies, as well as the use of data and statistics to inform instruction and to aggregate local and state assessment tools, and instruction on the development of classroom management.

HB 5599, also sponsored by Rep. Garcia, would require teacher preparation programs to include a warranty program for individuals who meet certain requirements. This program will apply to individuals who completed a program at any Michigan institution, and is employed by a school district, ISD, PSA or nonpublic school. If the individual is deemed ineffective and he/she lacks the skills to effectively teach based on either the local evaluation tool or a development plan that identifies specific areas of instructional development that would effectively address furthering the teacher’s instruction. He or she is eligible to retake any course(s) no later than two years after the individual graduated from the institution’s program. If the individual meets these requirements, he or she may enroll in a warranty education program at any teacher preparation institution in Michigan, and the program where the individual originally graduated from must bear the costs of the warranty education for the individual.

HB 5600, sponsored by Rep. Julie Alexander (R-Hanover), requires a teacher preparation institution to provide a stipend of $1,000 directly to a teacher who supervises and acts as a mentor to a student teacher. The stipend is provided at the end of the student teacher’s student teaching practicum. It has come to MASB’s attention that some institutions already offer other incentives to teachers who mentor student teachers, and we would like to see some flexibility on how mentor teachers are compensated. This flexibility can include both financial incentives as well as opportunities to receive free professional development credits at the student teacher’s institution.

HB 5601, sponsored by Rep. Kathy Crawford (R-Novi), will expect a teacher preparation institution to require students enrolled in a program to engage in at least 90 hours of cumulative classroom experience or practicum experience, or both. This would be in addition to student teaching time. HB 5604, sponsored by Rep. Pam Hornberger (R-Chesterfield Twp.), outlines requirements for a student teaching program. The student teacher could not engage in student teaching in a school that h/she attended, and would have to be introduced to the evaluation tool used by the district, ISD or PSA, as well as the use of data and statistics to inform instruction and the development of classroom management skills. The program should also include at least two of the following:

  • A student teaching experience in both urban and rural settings;
  • Experiences with pupils who are ELL;
  • Experiences in schools with a high poverty population; or
  • Experiences with pupils with a disability.

HB 5602, sponsored by Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw), outlines requirements for creating a master teacher corps, developed and implemented by the Michigan Department of Education. The focus will be on ensuring master teachers provide professional development to other teachers, requiring MDE to partner with the corps when developing new pilot programs, and determining how to use master teachers to support low-performing schools. Master teachers would be provided business cards or other identification as a master teacher and be provided with a yearly stipend between $5,000 and $10,000. MDE will be responsible for establishing the selection of master teachers from teachers nominated by school districts or PSAs.

HB 5603, also sponsored by Rep. Kelly, outlines specific requirements an individual must meet to be provisionally certified as an elementary level teacher. These requirements will focus on the individual’s completion of credits in the teaching of reading. To obtain a professional certification, an individual must successfully complete an additional course of study during his or her first six years of teaching focused on teaching reading. An individual seeking licensure at the secondary level would have to meet reading credit requirements as established by the superintendent of public instruction.

HB 5605, sponsored by Rep. Jim Lilly (R-Park Twp.), requires a teacher preparation institution to include the use of data and statistics to inform instruction and aggregate local and state assessment tools, development of classroom management skills, teaching pupils from rural and urban areas, instruction on social and emotional learning practices, and teaching pupils who are ELL, have a disability, and/or live in a high-poverty area.

MASB supports ensuring teachers are adequately prepared before entering the classroom and believes that individuals enrolled in teacher preparation programs should be receiving the best education and preparation available. We will continue to monitor this legislation and seek improvements to make sure that the final product is beneficial and effective for potential new teachers and the preparatory institutions they are attending.

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