Advance Notice: Briefs

Snyder signs bill allowing non-certified teachers in classrooms

By: and - December 21, 2018 4:47 am

Rick Snyder | Susan J. Demas

Gov. Rick Snyder earlier today signed a bill that will allow those with professional career expertise to substitute teach in grades 9-12 without a teaching certificate.

“This legislation will help schools fill teacher shortages in programs that offer high-demand career skills so that our students can be prepared for a 21st century economy,” said Snyder, a term-limited Republican.

Holly Hughes

House Bill 4421, sponsored by Rep. Holly Hughes (R-Montague), makes the change so those without teaching credentials can teach in an industrial technology program or a career and technical education program. S/he would have to satisfy prescribed requirements and achieve expertise, as determined by the local school board. It also allows individuals under 22 years of age, who don’t have a teaching certificate, to substitute teach in grades 9-12.

“We need to remove the barriers that would otherwise allow qualified individuals in our classrooms,” said Hughes during a House session in May. “To hear in committee testimony that over 1,000 Michigan classrooms a day do not have substitute teachers is absolutely unacceptable — for the students, other teachers and administration. These two bills will help our school districts have more options and our students have a better overall education.”

A recent U.S. Department of Education Title II program, which supports teacher training and professional development, shows enrollment in teacher prep at the college level is falling in many states.

Jeff Johnson, Montague Public Schools superintendent, testified in support of Hughes’ bill during an April 20 House Education Reform Committee meeting.

Lakia Wilson, Detroit Federation of Teachers vice president, addresses the protest on Dec. 12, 2018 | Ken Coleman

“This legislation will help put talented educators and professionals in front of our students to maximize each instructional day we have with kids,” Johnson said.

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Michigan opposed the legislation. The union argued that certified educators provide quality instruction in the classroom.

Snyder today signed more than a dozen other pieces of legislation.

Among the bills are:

  • Senate Bill 981, which requires the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to hire inspectors toinspect carnival rides. Under the previous law, LARA possessed the ability to hire inspectors, but was not required to do so.
  • House Bill 5254, which requires state agencies to perform a fingerprint-based criminal background check on employees that may have access to federal information databases.
  • SB 489, SB 490, SB 797, and SB 798, which would allow a parent or guardian to temporarily delegate their childcare responsibilities. The laws also provide for criminal background checks of every person living in a home where the temporary guardian resides.

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Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman writes about Southeast Michigan, history and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on Black life in Detroit.

Andrew Roth
Andrew Roth

Andrew Roth is a former reporting intern with the Michigan Advance. He has been covering Michigan policy and politics for three years across a number of publications and studies journalism at Michigan State University.