STATEMENT FROM HOWARD LEE AND TRICIA WILLOUGHBY IN RESPONSE TO HOUSE BILL FILED TODAY TO AMEND THE TEACHER LICENSURE LAW
The following statement is issued by State Board of Education Chairman Howard Lee and State Superintendent Tricia Willoughby:
The State Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction support high standards in education: high standards for our students, high standards for our schools, and high standards for our teachers. The State Board will not support any efforts to lower educational standards in North Carolina.
Today, a bill was filed in the General Assembly that would require North Carolina to provide a teaching license to teachers from other states - without regard to what standards those teachers have been required to meet or to their performance. We are concerned by what we have seen happen across the country in response to the teacher qualification standards in the federal No Child Left Behind Act. A number of states have enacted policies that lowered their teacher licensing standards.
While the State Board recognizes that our school districts face major hiring needs and pressures caused by No Child Left Behind, we do not believe reducing standards for teachers is the right response.
The State Board is working with the Governor and higher education partners to put in place the tools that districts need to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers for our children. Dramatically increasing the production of teachers, keeping in place the policies that allow us to bring experienced teachers from other states, and improving teacher pay and working conditions are just some of those tools. Granting a license to unqualified teachers is not one of them.
Other states may undermine their own educational progress by taking the easy way out and reducing standards for those who teach our children, but the State Board of Education will not take that course of action in North Carolina.
About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.
For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.