Senators ease rules

on certifying teachers

PHOENIX — Over the derision of Democrats, Republican state senators voted Tuesday to expand the ability of people without specific education training to become teachers as a method of dealing with a shortage of classroom educators.

SB 1042 requires the state Board of Education to adopt regulations for certifying alternative teacher and administrator preparation programs that are “substantially different” than those for traditional training programs. It also allows local school districts to decide to certify teachers through a “classroom-based preparation program.”

The legislation also eases requirements for people from other states to be able to teach in Arizona.

Arizona has been plagued with a shortage of teachers for years. More than 40 percent of teachers quit in the first two years, said Diane Douglas, the state schools superintendent.

The solution proposed by Gov. Doug Ducey in his State of the State speech was to repeal “outdated rules” he said keep qualified people out of the classroom.

As proof, he said that Sandra Day O’Connor, the now retired justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, is not considered qualified to teach civics in high school. “That’s crazy,” Ducey said, saying lawmakers should let local school boards, superintendents and principals make hiring decisions.

Sen. Martin Quezada, D-Glendale, said there’s only one problem with Ducey’s example: It’s “a feel-good story,” and a false one at that. He said existing rules already allow someone with credentials in a professional field to go into the classroom while they pursue a teaching certificate.

SB 1042, Quezada said, is not only unnecessary but “dumbs down the requirement for teachers.”

“It’s because we don’t pay them enough,” said Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson. “And you don’t solve the teacher retention crisis by lowering standards.”

Rep. Juan Mendez, D-Tucson, said the legislation’s message is that special skills are not needed to help students learn, which he said adds insult to the low salary.

Not all the complaints about SB 1042 came from Democrats. “Lowering the standards or affirming lower standards doesn’t get us where I think we need to go,” said Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix. But she voted for the final measure because she was able to make some changes to make it, in her mind, a bit better.

The measure still needs final House approval before going to the governor.

Bill OK’d to regulate movers’ estimates

Legislation headed to Ducey would provide some new protections for people who move across town or across state.

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HB 2145 is designed to end the practice by some moving companies of quoting one price ahead of the move and then, on arriving at the destination, demanding more and refusing to unload the homeowner’s goods until they have cash in hand.

This legislation requires a written contract upfront, with a detailed list of the services to be provided, an estimated price and other fees a consumer may have to pay. If the moving company wants to be paid for additional services not in the contract, the customer would have to agree ahead of time in writing. Once the previously agreed-on price is paid, the moving company would be required to deliver the items, or a police officer could intercede.

The bill, which won unanimous House approval Tuesday, does allow a mover to seek more funds for additional services — but only in court, and only after everything has been delivered.

Electronic-billboards change goes to Ducey

On a 20-8 vote the Senate gave final approval Tuesday to allowing electronic billboards in a portion of Mohave County around Bullhead City, with restrictions. Objectors cited concerns about dark skies for astronomers; such signs are limited now to certain other areas of the state. The measure now goes to the governor.

Howard Fischer,

Capitol Media Services

Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services