State Representative Kim Williams pre-filed legislation today that would do away with emergency certifications for pending special education teachers in The First State. As part of the Every Student Succeeds Act, this is no longer allowed in public education. From the bill’s synopsis:
Enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act amended the Individuals with Disability Education Act (“IDEA”) by mandating that special education teachers must have obtained full certification and may not be working under emergency certifications. The Delaware Department of Education must stop issuing emergency certifications in special education in order for the State to continue receiving $36 million in federal IDEA funding for our schools. This Act creates a mechanism that is in compliance with federal requirements to enable educators to obtain a certificate of eligibility in the areas of special education. Educators will be able to meet federal requirements while being enrolled in an approved, alternative routes to certification program. This Act will allow local education agencies to staff special education classrooms while ensuring the educators are receiving high quality training working toward their standard certificate in the appropriate area of special education. This Act also makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual.
Also sponsored by State Senator Nicole Poore, this bill has many co-sponsors by several Democrats but no Republicans. But that shouldn’t matter as this is a federal requirement now. So what does this mean? It means you can’t just be put into a classroom that has students with disabilities with an Individualized Education Program based on an emergency certificate. You have to already be going through some type of program that would allow you to be heading towards full certification. I expect this to pass with no problems.
As well, Williams also pre-filed legislation today concerning special education diplomas with House Bill #287 which I wrote about here. To read the full pending legislation for House Bill #286, please go here.
The Delaware State Board of Education sure does love their state regulations! Here are two more brought forward by the Delaware Professional Standards Board. The first deals with Graduate Level Salary Increments and the second tackles Emergency Certificates for teachers. I went through both and looked for some key wording in the proposed changes. I have some areas of concern. Where things are crossed out that is old parts they are looking to get rid of. Underlined sections are the proposed changes. Once again, both of these regulations would give the Department of Education more power in certain matters.
The second one has some very interest language in it concerning alternate routes to certification (Teach For America, Relay Graduate School). While neither of these two companies are mentioned, it is certainly implied this is what they are talking about.
However, the Department may issue an Emergency Certificate to an employed educator enrolled in an approved alternative routes for teacher licensure and certification program even if the employing authority fails to meet the 60-day request deadline.
I would suggest teachers read these documents to see what it could mean for them. I will fully admit I am not an expert on these matters, but does this open the door for more Teach For America and Relay Graduate School in Delaware schools? Let me know!
At Warner Elementary School in Wilmington this evening, representatives from both the Red Clay Consolidated and Christina Educators Association announced a recently passed resolution stating they have no confidence in Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy, the Delaware Department of Education, and the Delaware State Board of Education. The full document can be read here:
The RCEA and CEA collectively represent over 2,500 educators in the State of Delaware, as the two largest school districts in the state. Both districts were involved in the priority schools initiative and educators were faced with a no-win situation for many months starting last September. Members no longer have faith in the state educational leaders to effectively provide supports for their schools and are demanding change from state legislators.
Many have felt for years the DOE has acted unilaterally without true stakeholder input from educators, parents, and schools. It is only after they make changes that they reach out. The resolution also states the DOE spent millions of dollars to beef up their own internal positions and as a result, students lost funding, resources and support, especially in our state’s highest needs schools.