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House panel OKs requiring teachers to pass a skills test

Feb 28, 2017 by

A bill requiring the equivalent of a board exam for Utah teachers passed a House committee on Monday after a lengthy debate.

The proposal was approved by the Senate earlier this month in a 22-3 vote. But it split the Republican members of the House Education Committee and would have failed if not for supporting votes by the committee’s two Democrats.

Sponsored by Sen. Ann Millner, R-Ogden, SB78 would require graduates of a university education program to pass a test of pedagogical skills — such as lesson planning and classroom management — prior to obtaining a teaching license.

Teachers who enter the profession through an alternative route, like the new Academic Pathway to Teacher, would be required to complete the pedagogical assessment before their third year in the classroom.

“At some point in time,” Millner said, “they’ve got to reach the same standards as any other teacher.”

Committee members discussed several areas of concern in the bill, including the disparate treatment for traditional and alternative teaching routes and the financial burden the test would place on educators.

SB78 does not fund the cost of taking the test, which is estimated to cost up to $300 per teacher, or a combined cost of $1 million each year.

Source: House panel OKs requiring teachers to pass a skills test | The Salt Lake Tribune

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