Local News

Easley's Teaching Bill Veto Has Education Leaders Taking Sides

Posted October 3, 2005 7:02 a.m. EDT

— Gov. Mike Easley's decision last week to veto a bill that would ease requirements to hire new teachers in North Carolina has education leaders taking sides over who has the power to make education rules in state.

State lawmakers passed

a bill

to make it easier to lure teachers from other states to North Carolina, but education leaders say that can be done with policy instead of law.

When Easley vetoed the bill to waive the state's certification exam for out-of-state teachers, he said it would lower standards. But some say there is more to it than that.

State Board of Education Chairman Howard Lee says it is the education board's responsibility to address the state's teacher shortage, not the Legislature's.

Lee's new plan waives the certification exam for out-of-state teachers who pass a similar exam with a score at or above North Carolina's standard. It waives the exam for teachers with three years of experience, if they teach successfully in North Carolina for one year.

Lee also wants a special committee to make recommendations for teachers with less than three of years experience.

"This policy will give great relief because it will incorporate a great deal of what's in House Bill 706," Lee said.

Superintendents and school administrators, however, are not convinced. They say the state education board has tried before to help recruit out-of-state teachers and failed. They want lawmakers to come back to Raleigh to override Easley's veto so that less strict licensing standards become law.

"We think it's the best thing for school systems and the best things for kids," said Jim Causby, a representative of the North Carolina Association of School Administrators.

Lee plans to present his proposal at the Board of Education's meeting in Charlotte later this week. He expects members will pass it.