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Priority Legislative Alert: Educator Licensure Rule Changes (PI 34)

By John Forester | June 14, 2018

The SAA is issuing a Priority Legislative Alert on the Educator Licensure Rule Changes (PI 34).  The licensure flexibility that WASDA, WASBO, AWSA, WCASS and WASPA worked so hard to achieve in the PI 34 rule is in jeopardy.

The Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR) held a public hearing last Thursday, June 7th on the stakeholder workgroup revisions to licensure.  The Committee called the hearing because of opposition from the Reading Council to Tier 1 licensees being able to teach without having passed the Foundations of Reading Test (FORT).  Following the hearing, the Committee decided to “hold” the rule and meet again on July 13th, at which time they will likely seek modifications to the rule.  These modifications could weaken the licensure flexibility afforded under the PI 34 revisions.

We urge all SAA members to take action nowPlease contact the members of JCRAR, in support of CR17-093, the PI 34 rule revision.

In your communication, please consider using the talking points listed below.  Also, it is critical that you share with JCRAR members the challenges that you face in hiring high-quality educators in this environment and that your district needs the flexibility afforded under CR 17-093.

Talking Points:

  1. Wisconsin school districts are facing growing school staffing issues including high turnover, fewer applicants for positions, and candidate shortages in a variety of disciplines. With fewer new teachers entering the profession, new approaches to educator recruitment and retention are critical to ensure all children have access to high-quality educators.
  2. The licensure flexibility afforded under CR17-093 is universally supported by school leaders in their effort to address the growing workforce challenges faced by Wisconsin school districts.
  3. We must also point out that districts are currently operating under these proposed rule changes as part of the current Emergency Rule. These proposals are already making a positive difference in meeting these workforce challenges in districts throughout Wisconsin.
  4. School administrators support all aspects of the proposed rule but, of particular importance are the flexibilities and candidate expanding aspects in the Tier 1 license. This will allow for a much-needed district sponsored pathway to licensure, immediate licensure for out of state candidates, licensing for speech and language pathologists with a Department of Safety and Professional Services license and licensing for individuals coming into a district on an internship or residency status.  These are effective, no-cost solutions to a significant workforce need in Wisconsin school districts.
  5. Educator licensure is simply a minimum requirement.  District leadership is responsible for hiring and developing successful educators, and ultimately determining educator quality based on actual teacher performance and student outcomes.
  6. Reducing the Tier 1 license flexibility in the rule has the potential to impact as many as 2,400 teaching licenses, many of which are FORT-related stipulations.  Any portion of these licensees that lose their ability to teach will exacerbate an already troubling workforce challenge and reduce educational opportunities for children.

For your convenience in contacting the JCRAR members, we have provided a link to the JCRAR webpage (which includes contact information for each committee member).  We have also provided direct email links to each committee member below.

Representative Ballweg (Co-Chair)

Senator Nass (Co-Chair)

Senator LeMahieu

Senator Stroebel

Senator Larson

Senator Wirch

Representative Neylon

Representative Ott

Representative Hebl

Representative Anderson

If you should have any questions please email me.  Thanks for listening and, as always, thank you for everything you do on behalf of Wisconsin school children.

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