SPOKANE, Wash. – A bill addressing Washington state’s teacher shortage was signed into law on Friday.
The bill, sponsored by Spokane Valley Rep. Bob McCaslin, will expand opportunities for people to get their teaching certificates through nontraditional teacher prep program. Lawmakers said four alternative route programs will be repealed and the Professional Educator Standards Board will be responsible for creating new alternative routes for people looking to become a full-time teacher. The bill will go into effect later in 2017.
Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal said the board is comprised of a lot of educators who understand the teacher shortage well.
“It used to be much, much smaller. It’s almost across every subject right now,” said Reykdal.
Washington State is experiencing teacher shortages in 16 subject areas, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Reykdal said there are couple of reasons there is a teachers shortage but one is that a lot of people are retiring.
Rep. McCaslin said the bill will help provide immediate relief.
“By providing the PESB with rulemaking authority over alternative route programs, highly talented individuals with expertise in a variety of fields will be brought into the classroom much more quickly. This will bring immediate benefit to students and much-needed relief to many teachers and administrators across the state,” McCaslin said in a statement.