|Action||Comprehensive Revision of the Licensure Regulations for School Personnel|
|Comment Period||Ends 11/6/2015|
Impact on Dual Language, Foreign Language, and CTE programs
I am the foreign language and CTE Coordinator in Harrisonburg City. My opinions are my own and not necessarily those of my school division.
In general, the changes represent a step in the right direction. I appreciate the extension of the International Educators license from three to five years, and the additional flexibility in the Elementary Education endorsements (allowing more of the requirements to be met by passing rigorous content tests) and in the Foreign Language endorsement (removing the TOEFL requirement). The new Engineering endorsement may be helpful to us as well, so long as it is in addition to, and not in place of, the Technology Education endorsement. We have been fortunate to have some wonderful Technology Education teachers who are also good Engineering teachers; the new regulation should not take options away from them when endorsements are matched with courses to determine highly qualified teacher status.
I would also like to ask the Board to consider additional flexibility, and perhaps a new endorsement area, for the growing and popular Dual Language programs around our state in which students learn for a large part of the day in a language other than English (in our programs, for example, they learn for about half of the day in the Spanish language). The growth in these programs nationwide means that teacher openings are very hard to fill, and the current path to an Elementary Education endorsement is too steep in time and cost for our state to be an attractive destination for Dual Language teachers. I suggest the addition of a new Immersion Education endorsement, with a requirement for advanced proficiency in a foreign language and targeted coursework to ensure quality immersion education. An Immersion Education endorsement would give a teacher highly qualified status to serve as a classroom teacher and would enable us to provide a more direct path to teaching for more candidates, especially those who are career switchers or who move here from Puerto Rico or other states. Utah, Rhode Island, and Illinois are among the states that have created a specific endorsement for bilingual or Dual Language education to respond to the growing demand for these effective programs.
Though the areas I work with - foreign language, Dual Language, and CTE - are different in many respects, one thing they share is the critical need for more great teachers to join the field. Anything the Board can do to make the process of becoming a teacher more streamlined and more attractive is welcome.