Proos co-sponsors bill to end teacher shortage in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)

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LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate recently approved legislation co-sponsored by Sen. John Proos to make it easier for professionals with expertise in certain fields to become effective classroom teachers.

“I have long supported an increased focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in our schools, because these robust areas of study are critical to the future of our nation and in preparing future generations for success,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “These fields are some of the most rigorous education paths a person can take. Unfortunately, Michigan has a shortage of teachers in these subjects.

“Allowing mid-career professionals with deep, practical knowledge of a subject area to teach would fill a need for STEM instructors and give students an invaluable, first-hand perspective on what they are studying.”

Senate Bill 491 would allow school districts to hire a professional without a teaching certificate to teach as long as certain criteria are met. Under the bill, the new teachers would still be required to pass the basic skills test (called the Professional Readiness Examination) and any applicable subject area tests and also work toward a teaching certificate.

“We’ve achieved much to build a stronger, more vibrant Michigan,” Proos said. “Helping bring professionals with real-world experience into the classroom is part of an ongoing effort to ensure all students are given the education they need to be successful, obtain a well-paying job and contribute to Michigan’s future.”

The bill would allow professionals without teaching certificates to teach certain fields if they had, in the previous seven years, at least five years of occupational experience in that field.

SB 491 has been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos are available on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Audio” under the Media Center tab.