McCaslin bill addressing state’s teacher shortage signed into law

On Friday, a bill sponsored by Rep. Bob McCaslin to bring more individuals into the teaching profession through alternative route programs was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee.

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 The four alternative route programs currently in statute will be repealed, and the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) will be responsible for creating new alternative routes for individuals looking to transition to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

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 in the state have said they're either in “crisis mode” or “struggling” when it comes to finding qualified, certified candidates for teaching positions.

McCaslin, R-Spokane Valley, says his bill will provide immediate relief.

“With so many of our school districts burdened by the state's ongoing teacher shortage, it's critical we come up with new ways to solve this challenge,” said McCaslin. “By providing the PESB with rulemaking authority over alternative route programs, highly talented individuals with expertise in a variety of fields will be brought into the classroom much more quickly. This will bring immediate benefit to students and much-needed relief to many teachers and administrators across the state.”

House Bill 1654 will go into effect later this year.

The 2017 legislative session is scheduled to adjourn Sunday, April 23.


Washington State House Republican Communications