During the last legislative session, as well as in the interim, NSEA pushed for greater accountability for charter schools. Our advocacy included the issue of licensure of all charter school teachers to help level the playing field between charter schools and neighborhood public schools while also helping ensure every Nevada student has access to a highly qualified teacher. NSEA was heartened by the introduction of AB109 by the Interim Committee on Education and spoke in strong support at the Assembly Education Committee. Unfortunately, the bill was watered down to lower the requirement to 80%. While it still requires teachers in core academic subjects to be licensed, we believe this requirement should apply to all charter school teachers.
During this committee’s discussion of SB126 related to libraries, strong statements were made about the need for licensed librarians in all public schools. Consistent application of this position should extend to classrooms in charter schools.
Regarding the profession of teaching, education leader Linda Darling-Hammond has said,
Teaching is the profession on which all other professions depend… There's a pretty wide and deep basket of knowledge that teachers need to have. They need to understand how people learn, and how people learn differently. They need to know how people develop in social and emotional and academic and moral and physical ways, and how all those areas of child development interact with each other. They need to understand the relationship, for example, between emotion and learning. Teachers also need to know how to build a curriculum that gets kids from wherever they are to the curriculum goals we have for them. They need to understand assessment — how not only to give a test and give a grade … but also how to assess how kids are learning and then either reshape the teaching or help students revise their own work so that they can improve.
Great teaching takes so much more than just subject matter expertise or even excellence in another field. AB109 recognizes this and honors the profession of teaching and the educators who have committed significant time and energy in rigorous study and practice to become great teachers.
NSEA PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO AB109
Substitute language of AB109 as amended with language of AB109 as introduced.
Educator Comments on Why Charter Schools Should Be Held Accountable:
Selena La Rue Hatch (North Valleys HS, Reno)
All students deserve a rigorous and quality education, supported by highly trained and qualified teachers. Students at Charter Schools are no different from students in public schools in this respect. It seems like basic common sense to insist that teachers at Charter Schools are held to the same standards as teachers in public schools across Nevada. Why this isn't already law is beyond me and speaks to the disturbing lack of accountability Charters have faced in our state. Teachers are teachers. Regardless of the type of school that employs them. They should be held to the same standards, and in the state of Nevada that means a teaching license.
Tricia McDermott, (Desert Pines HS, Las Vegas)
All teachers should be licensed in the state of Nevada. Charter teachers need to have the same standards as public school teachers. It’s what is best for students.
Kelly Epstein (Darnell ES, Las Vegas)
Charter schools should have to employ licensed teachers in the classrooms. If it is a federal and state law public schools have to, why would a public charter school not have too? They are teaching using curriculum, creating legal documents for report cards, IEPs, administering state tests. They should be properly trained educators.
Will Harper (Spanish Springs HS, Sparks)
All students, regardless of the type of school they attend, deserve, and need teachers that have achieved the same high standard of training. Charter school students need licensed teachers! Thank you!
Susan Kaiser (Retired, WCSD)
The art of teaching is a craft learned through study, hard work and application in the classroom. Successful educators are those who have been trained in best practices, interpret student learning challenges, and respond to their unique needs to facilitate their success. Completing a credential program and participating in ongoing professional development is why students in public schools generally outperform their peers in charter schools. There is no substitute for an educator who has earned their teaching credential rather it is just a beginning in their journey as a lifelong learner. Every student deserves to learn from a certified educator.
Gary Murphy (Bridger MS, North Las Vegas)
Charter schools should have the same standards as far as teacher licensure as public schools. Especially, because charter schools receive state money. Also, Nevada students deserve a licensed teacher in the classroom and not just teachers with substitute licenses. Thank you for making sure all students get a licensed teacher whether they attend public or charter schools.
Rhonda Lamboo (Herron ES, North Las Vegas)
After spending 34 years in the classroom as a licensed teacher, each student deserves to have a teacher that has been trained properly in education. It is also important to start funding education and paying teachers more because we are already seeing a shortage of teachers and substitutes, and it will only get worse. Teachers are not valued as they once were, and college students will choose other professions rather than education.
Jennifer Grange (Westergard ES, Reno)
All students in Nevada deserve licensed teachers in every classroom.
Janet Keyser Carnes (Retired, WCSD)
Nevada students deserve the best. They all should have certified teachers even those at charter schools. Please pass AB109