McCaslin’s bill addressing state teacher shortage unanimously passes House

On Thursday, the Washington State House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill sponsored by Rep. Bob McCaslin to help address the state's teacher shortage.

House Bill 1654 would expand opportunities for individuals to obtain their teaching certificate through nontraditional teacher prep programs. The four alternative route programs currently in statute would be repealed, and the Professional Educator Standards Board would be responsible for creating new alternative routes for individuals looking to transition to full-time teaching.

There are 400 individuals currently enrolled in the state's alternative route programs. McCaslin, R-Spokane Valley, believes his bill could boost those numbers significantly.

“This bill would provide the opportunity to bring individuals who have expertise in specific fields — but have not yet received a teaching degree — into the classroom much more quickly,” said McCaslin. “These are bright individuals, and at a time when we're experiencing an ongoing teacher shortage, we should be looking at every opportunity to provide our school districts with the help they need.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education, Washington state is experiencing teacher shortages in 16 subject areas, including many of the sciences.

In multiple surveys in recent years, more than 90 percent of school district human resource directors and principals have said they're either in “crisis mode” or “struggling” when it comes to finding qualified certified candidates for teaching positions. Only about 5 percent of respondents have said they're not experiencing such a problem.

House Bill 1654 now goes to the Senate for further consideration.


Washington State House Republican Communications