The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) proposed a rule to require only a bachelor's degree to teach grades 8 through 12. That proposal went to the Texas Board of Education and because they could not muster a two thirds vote to reject the proposal it will now become law. That means anyone with a bachelor's degree can apply for a temporary certification, no more student teaching or education related courses required.
The move was made to ease a teacher shortage here in Texas, but it has many wondering at what cost? Jackie Williams, President of the Lubbock Retired Teachers Union says, "I can't think of any other profession where we would say, 'Go do this job even though you're not trained for it.'"
Like many, Jackie worries decreasing certification requirements for Texas teachers will be detrimental to the children who are the future of this state. She says, "There are so many components to being a teacher. Certainly we want every single teacher to know the subject, that does not mean knowing the subject will ensure that one can teach the subject."
Lubbock Independent School District Superintendent, Wayne Havens, agrees with Jackie. A severe shortage of teachers in Texas helps him understand why this is a desirable temporary solution, but he and Lubbock's own board of education member, Bob Craig, think the new regulations need to be looked at more closely. "They need to go back to the table and re-look at this and the final outcome might be a more productive proposal," says Havens.
Craig says, "I voted to reject the rule because I did not think it was well drafted. As a matter of fact, I think it was poorly drafted. It did not contain sufficient guidelines or requirements for training the individuals that might attempt to teach."
Craig adds that he does not think the new rules will decrease the teacher shortage significantly and he wants to maintain the requirement of keeping teachers certified. That's a sentiment shared by many teachers and parents who sent hundreds of letters to his office asking him to reject the plan. Jackie says, "There may be a level of resentment to assume just anyone can come in and do what I do and no training is required."
Jackie also says she thinks this might be a band-aid solution to such a pressing issue. Some say further solutions need to be looked into not only to attract teachers but to retain them. So far that is not a problem here in Lubbock, school officials tell NewsChannel 11 there is no shortage of teachers here.