Local News

New Bill Makes It Easier For Out-Of-State Teachers To Work In N.C.

Posted August 25, 2005 7:55 a.m. EDT

— House Bill 706 got final approval from the Legislature Monday. It allows highly qualified, fully licensed teachers from another state to work in North Carolina without taking a teacher certification test. The bill is now on Gov. Mike Easley's desk, but the question is whether he will sign it.

New teacher Malinda Kramer is getting ready for her first day of teaching fourth grade at Forestville Road Elementary School in Knightdale. The Wake County School System recruited Kramer at a job fair in New York. She spent the past year student teaching in her home state, but she says full-time-teaching are hard to come by in New York.

"I had this opportunity and I wanted to be in my own classroom," said Kramer. "I was viewed as a teacher for the past year and I couldn't imagine not having my own class this year."

This year, 53 percent of new Wake County teachers are from other states. Statewide, about one-third of all new teachers are from other states. School superintendents said it is because only 3,200 students are graduating with education degrees in North Carolina every year.

Wake County school administrators said the bill would help high-demand school districts like theirs attract the teachers they need.

"Many programs of teacher preparation in other states," said Toni Patterson, Wake County School Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources. "They're of very high quality just as they are in North Carolina."

Easley disagrees with the concept. His staff released a statement to the

Charlotte Observer

on Aug. 19 saying, "The Governor's concern is that this legislation eliminates North Carolina's standard for teacher quality and requires us to accept the standard in other states regardless of how low they may be."

"I do not believe there is anybody in the state interested in lowering standards," said Kathy Sullivan, a human resources manager for the Department of Public Instruction.

Sullivan said in April the state School Board voted to give out-of-state teachers four options for getting a license in North Carolina, but decided not to waive all requirements. These include taking a teacher certification test called Praxis, demonstrating competency through a process called H.O.U.S.E., showing how your teaching impacts student learning or getting your National Board Certification.

"I think the concern was that North Carolina has worked so hard to raise standards for teachers and maintain those standards," Sullivan said.

Despite his concerns, Easley has not said for sure that he will veto it. He has 10 days from receiving it to sign or veto it. However, if the Legislature adjourns soon, he has 30 days.