Both legislative education committees have approved a rule allowing districts to use a non-traditional route to fill teaching vacancies.
The Senate Education Committee voted in favor of the rule Jan. 19, Idaho EdNews reported. It would allow districts to hire teachers who have “demonstrated content knowledge,” but not a conventional teaching certificate. The alternative certificate would be in effect for one year, and could be renewed annually for two more years.
Republicans on the committee said the alternative route could help combat teacher shortages.
“This isn’t just an Idaho issue, this is a national issue,” said Sen. Jim Patrick, R-Twin Falls. “We’re not going to fix this in the short-term. We’re going to have to work through it.”
Matt Compton of the Idaho Education Association conceded that districts “are desperately seeking teachers.” However, Compton testified against the rule, calling it a shortcut to certification.
Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking, D-Boise, said the language would allow districts to use alternative certification — even when they weren’t facing a real shortage of applicants. The rule would allow any college graduate to go straight into the classroom, without having to attend a college of education. “That’s very scary to me.”
The rule passed the Senate committee with only Ward-Engelking in opposition.
The House Education Committee passed the rule Jan. 18.