News: Quick Takes

Governor signs bill expanding teacher hiring pool

The Excellent Educators for Every Classroom bill is now law as Gov. Roy Cooper signed Senate Bill 599.

Designed to revamp the teacher hiring process in North Carolina, S.B. 599 established the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission. The independent body will recommend standards for teacher preparation, licensing, continuing education, and conduct to the State Board of Education.

In addition, S.B. 599 lets educational organizations meeting specific criteria become educator preparation programs, essentially expanding the hiring pool for teachers to include accredited nonprofit and for-profit groups instead of just colleges and universities.

Terry Stoops, vice president for research and director of education studies at the John Locke Foundation, explained in a previous Carolina Journal article how the bill would help meet the demand for teachers.

“We have seen a decrease in the number of students enrolled in schools of education,” Stoops said, “so there is a supply and demand problem where there’s a strong demand for teachers, but not the kind of supply that will meet the demand in math, science, and special education.”

S.B. 599 opens the door for nonprofit and for-profit organizations trained in teaching educators to meet the need to fill positions in low-performing schools and high-demand fields.

Sen. Chad Barefoot, R-Wake, answered the call with S.B. 599.

“I am pleased that the governor signed Excellent Educators for Every Classroom into law,” Barefoot said. “This bill increases North Carolina’s teacher pipeline, improves teacher preparation standards, and enhances new teacher support efforts so that our students have access to excellent teachers.”

Barefoot explained how the bill includes an accountability system to ensure there is an “even playing field of accountability for teacher preparation programs.”

“By measuring the quality of teacher preparation programs and evaluating the performance of their graduates in the classroom, we will have the ability to ensure that teacher preparation programs remain current,” Barefoot added, “[and] reflect a rigorous course of study that is aligned to our state’s needs and produce high quality teachers for our students.”