March 2017 State Policy Recap
Ed Prep Matters is pleased to bring you this special feature on state policy and AACTE state chapter activity. For a recap of state policy and state chapter activity in February 2017, see this blog.
In March, state policy action began to slow down, as several legislatures passed their deadline for introduction or “crossover,” the last day for a bill to pass out of the chamber in which it was introduced. Check out this chart to see important dates for your state legislature.
Even with the slowdown, though, at least 186 state bills were introduced during March that could affect educator preparation programs. Similar to previous months, by far the most common topic addressed in the new bills was educator certification or licensure standards. Another major topic was teaching scholarships and loan forgiveness for educators. In North Carolina, for example, companion bills in both chambers would re-establish the state’s Teaching Fellows Program, with an emphasis on educators in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
Of the 186 state bills introduced last month, 68 have passed the first legislative chamber. In Arkansas, one of these bills was already signed into law, creating a loan forgiveness program for teacher candidates who commit to five consecutive years of service in a school that qualifies as a critical teacher shortage area. In Idaho, a bill was signed into law clarifying that the state’s preservice performance assessment may include multiple measures that are aligned with best practices.
Beyond the legislatures, state education agencies have also placed a significant focus on regulatory action that could affect educator preparation programs. In March, five regulations were adopted in four states – Maryland, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia. A new rule in Maryland aligns the state’s regulatory language to reflect the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders. Additionally, 10 new regulations were proposed in seven states – Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, and Washington.