New legislation under consideration in the Michigan legislature could change the way teacher candidates are trained. The bill, a bundle of proposals introduced by Representative Daniela Garcia, a Republican from Holland and member of the House Education Reform Committee, calls for a range of new measures that are specifically focused on student teaching and teacher preparation institutions. According to the Michigan GOP web site, the legislation would, if passed:
- Require student teaching experience in multiple environments, such as rural and urban districts, while also familiarizing the student teacher with their district’s evaluation methods and local data to help craft instruction and classroom management.
- Ensure that teacher prep institutions include instruction on classroom management and teaching students in rural and urban areas, in addition to working with students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, are English language learners or have special needs.
- Establish that institutions provide a free warranty program to graduates who are continuing to develop their teaching skills.
- Require that full-time faculty at the teacher prep institution complete at least 30 hours of continuing education annually in order to be certified as a teacher preparation program.
- Set a standard that student teachers complete at least 90 hours of classroom experience during their preparation program, in addition to the student [teaching] experience.
- Provide that teacher prep institutions must extend a $1,000 stipend to a mentor teacher for developing a student teacher in the classroom.
- Establish a master teacher corps through the state Department of Education to help provide professional development, assist low performing schools and to serve as input for new educational programs or issues.
- Ensure an elementary level teaching certificate to be allowed only to student teachers who have completed six credits of reading instruction. (http://gophouse.org/representative-garcias-legislative-package-will-improve-teacher-prep-standards/)
The bill is currently opposed by at least one teacher advocacy organization, the Michigan Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, which cites the potential cost of the program and its possible disruption to the national accreditation process.