NM House Education Committee Passes Bills To Retain More Teachers
The House Education Committee unanimously approved three bills on Monday to address New Mexico’s public teacher shortage.
The committee approved changes to the Teacher Residency Program that would expand eligibility to college and university education students in their senior year.
The current program is designed for candidates with a bachelor’s degree in another field who wish to become a public school educator. They are teamed with experienced teachers for a year to learn classroom skills.
The bill would also increase the stipend to $35,000 a year from its current $20,000.
The proposed changes are strongly supported by educators.
Stan Rounds represents the New Mexico Coalition of Education Leaders and New Mexico School Superintendents Association.
He says the changes will help aleve what has become a crisis in New Mexico schools to find enough quality teachers.
“This is one of the ways we are going to be able to deal with that long term contingency. In fact on any given day there are between 900 and 1500 uncovered classes," he said. "This is a step in the right direction, something that will build our capacity, that will build qualified, capable, excellent teachers in New Mexico that we believe we can retain.”
The committee also approved bills to allow recently retired teachers to return to the classroom sooner and not affect their pensions. Currently, retired teachers must wait a year before returning as a substitute. The bill would change that to 90 days.
Another bill would, at least the coming year, provide an 80/20 split in the cost of health insurance for all school employees.