Gov. Snyder signed Senate Bill 727 today that will help increase the number of qualified teachers that could interview for teaching positions this year. The bill, authored by state Senator Phil Pavlov, will eliminate an unnecessary barrier in the teacher licensing process and increase flexibility for educator preparation programs. The legislature moved quickly to pass this bill knowing it could have an impact on the teacher shortage this fall.
“Great schools start with great teachers,” stated Senator Pavlov Chairman of the Senate Education Committee. “To have great teachers we have to streamline the licensing process to facilitate recruitment of the best and brightest into our classrooms. Our students deserve the best and this new law will ensure more of Michigan’s most talented professionals are there to inspire the next generation.”
The bill ensures that people who apply to become a teacher through the Michigan Alternate Route to Interim Teaching (MARITC) will no longer have to take the new SAT at a local high school to qualify for a program. Since prospective teachers earning certification through MARITC must have a bachelor’s degree or higher, passing the SAT was an unnecessary step in the process that lengthened the time and increased the cost for certification. The bill also allows programs more flexibility with respect to the grade point average of prospective teachers who are offered admission.
“We want bright and knowledgeable teachers in Michigan classrooms and many schools have an immediate need to fill shortages in their districts,” said State Superintendent Brian Whiston. “This new law will remove a current barrier to help those wanting to become inspired teachers, share their first-hand expertise with students, and help Michigan become a Top 10 education state in 10 years.”
Michigan Teachers of Tomorrow was one of the MARITC programs helping drive the change. The program had more than 1,000 applicants who wanted to teach in Michigan schools in the first six months of operations. Most of those applicants were significantly slowed or stopped by the cost and time to take the SAT. The removal of the requirement means that many more potential teachers will be ready to staff Michigan schools this summer through the program. Most MARITC teachers are career changers, with an average age of 30+, who have now found the calling to teach.
Heidi Turchan, a reading instructor in Michigan stated, “My 20 years of experience and my level of expertise to teach reading to at-risk students is needed in our schools and it’s needed NOW! With the passing of SB 727, I can finally begin the Michigan Teachers of Tomorrow program to earn my teacher certificate and start teaching our lowest performing students to read!”
Senate Bill 727 was introduced on December 13, 2017 and passed out of legislature on March 22, 2018. Companion legislation has been introduced to eliminate similar barriers in other programs besides the MARITC programs.
“We are proud to work with great leaders who see a problem like this barrier to the classroom and immediately work to resolve it,” stated Vernon Reaser, CEO of Teachers of Tomorrow. “In the end it means that many more classrooms will have a great teacher this fall which is always our goal.”
“The impact of the passage of SB 727 is immediate so that teachers can complete their program before the Fall,” said Eric House, another Michigan teacher impacted by the previous rule. “The passage of SB 727 is a huge victory towards ending Michigan’s teacher shortage. All schools, and especially urban schools, will directly benefit from having more qualified teachers available to them. Now let’s get to work filling those vacancies!”
About Teachers of Tomorrow (www.teachersoftomorrow.org)
Teachers of Tomorrow is the largest, fastest growing Teacher Certification Program in the nation, delivering online training to individuals who want to pursue a career in teaching. Teachers of Tomorrow attracts career changers with an average age of 32 into teaching so they can bring their real-world experiences into the classroom. Teachers of Tomorrow is the second most diverse certification program in the country with 46% non-white enrollment. In Addition, 70% of Teachers of Tomorrow teachers remain in the profession after five years, significantly higher than the national average of only 50%. Over the last 11 years, Teachers of Tomorrow has certified more than 42,000 new teachers, and in 2016 the Company trained and certified more than 7,000 teachers. An independent study revealed that Teachers of Tomorrow graduates see student achievement results equal to teachers coming through university programs. Teachers of Tomorrow is an approved teacher certification provider in Texas, Florida, Nevada, Indiana, South Carolina, Michigan and Arizona.