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Texas State Board OKs Teacher Plan

November 18, 2000

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) _ In an effort to overcome a teacher shortage, the state certification board approved a preliminary measure Friday to allow schools to hire teachers who have college degrees but no education background.

The State Board of Educator Certification says Texas, where the teacher work force numbers about 250,000, has vacancies for 45,000. The board approved the proposal 8-0, with one abstention.

The proposal now must win State Board of Education approval and the certification board’s final approval before it would take effect.

The state teachers’ organizations quickly criticized the move.

``The whole process went from simplifying certification to filling vacancies,″ said Holly Eaton, spokeswoman for the Texas Classroom Teachers Association. ``This is a quick way to mask the real problem.″

``This proposal might fill some classrooms, but it will shortchange children,″ said Brock Gregg, spokesman for the Association of Texas Professional Educators, after the vote.

The plan would allow districts to issue ``transitional certificates″ to college graduates who have knowledge of the subject they would teach, but no formal training or degree in it.

Districts also would no longer be required to tell parents which classes were being taught by uncertified teachers. Teachers already certified could be moved from their current subjects to teach for up to two years in areas in which they have none.

``This proposal makes it so school districts don’t have to ask any more. They tell,″ Gregg said.

Charise VanCuren, a spokeswoman for the Seagraves Independent School District, told board members the plan would be good for rural districts like hers in West Texas.

``All students deserve to be educated by the most qualified certified teacher to be found, but small school districts are lacking certified applicants,″ she said.

The teachers’ groups say low pay and poor benefits caused the teacher shortage and that they will fight the proposal. Texas teachers earn $3,000 less than the national average salary of $41,377, the groups said.

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On the Net:

State Board of Educator Certification: http://www.sbec.state.tx.us/

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