SINGLE TEACHING CERTIFICATE
WITHOUT CONTINUING EDUCATION
House Bill 4645
Sponsor: Rep. Bob Genetski
Complete to 2-28-12
A SUMMARY OF HOUSE BILL 4645 AS INTRODUCED 5-17-11
House Bill 4645 would amend the Revised School Code (MCL 380.1531) to eliminate Michigan's professional teaching certificate, and provide instead for a single teaching certificate that does not require continuing education (including credit hours, continuing education units, or degree requirements). A more detailed description of the bill follows.
House Bill 4645 specifies that, without regard to any contrary rule, an individual would not be required to have any teaching certificate to teach in Michigan other than a valid provisional teaching certificate or a new "single teaching certificate."
Now under the law, the Superintendent of Public Instruction issues a provisional teaching certificate to new, recently graduated teachers. Then, if the teacher meets certain requirements before the provisional certificate expires, a professional education certificate is issued.
In contrast, under House Bill 4645, a single teaching certificate would be issued by the state superintendent, rather than a provisional teaching certificate followed by a professional education certificate. In addition, the bill specifies that the education requirements for the single teaching certificate could not exceed the requirements in effect for a provisional teaching certificate. Further, the bill prohibits the state superintendent from requiring the completion of any credit hours, continuing education units, or degree requirements for the issuance or renewal of the single teaching certificate.
After the bill's effective date, all individuals would be issued the single teaching certificate, as their provisional or professional teaching certificates expired or were renewed. However, the bill specifies that the state school superintendent could continue to require an occupational teaching certificate for certain kinds of instruction.
In addition, House Bill 4645 would eliminate the current requirements in the law that teachers complete at least a three-credit course of study (with appropriate field experiences) in the diagnosis and remediation of reading disabilities and differentiated instruction. (Under current law, this course of study can be completed as part of one's teacher preparation program or during the first six years of employment in classroom teaching.)
Finally, House Bill 4645 would repeal Section 1531e of the Revised School Code. That section of the code describes the professional education certificate, and how teachers can earn them if their provisional certificates lapse because of breaks in service. The full text that would be repealed follows.
(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this act or a rule to the contrary, if a person earns a provisional teaching certificate and that certificate lapses before the person completes the requirements for a professional education certificate, and if a school district or public school academy applies to the department on that person's behalf for another provisional teaching certificate within 10 years after the person's initial provisional teaching certificate lapsed, the department shall issue a new provisional teaching certificate to the person. This new provisional teaching certificate shall be valid for 2 years and may not be renewed. The person shall have this 2-year period to complete the requirements for a professional education certificate, and the department shall credit toward the requirements for a professional education certificate any continuing education or other requirements completed while the person's initial teaching certificate was valid.
(2) This section applies to a person described in subsection (1) regardless of whether the person's provisional teaching certificate lapsed before or after the effective date of this section.
(3) This section does not apply to a person convicted of a crime described in Section 1535a.
The bill would tend to reduce administrative expenses for the Department of Education in administering the teacher certification requirements of the act and related administrative rules. In establishing a single state teaching certificate, the bill would essentially eliminate the continuing education (post-graduate studies) requirements for initial and renewed professional teaching certificates. The department would no longer review certification applications to ensure compliance with these education requirements, as the education requirements for the single teaching certificate would be the same as the requirements for the provisional teaching certificate. The department would also realize some cost savings as it would no longer verify completion of the reading diagnostics course as part of the certification process. The bill would generally have no impact on teacher certification fee revenue for the department, as the single teaching certificate would continue to be subject to renewal every five years as provided in Section 1538 of the Revised School Code (MCL 380.1538). However, the bill would eliminate the 2-year extended provisional certificate provided for in Sec. 1531e, although it isn't immediately known how many extended provisional certificates are issued or the associated fee revenue.
The bill would have no direct impact on school districts or public school academies. The bill could have an indirect impact on school districts as collective bargaining agreements typically provide for a varied salary schedule for teachers, depending on the teacher's longevity and level of post-secondary education. Within a school district, bachelor's trained teachers will generally receive a lower base pay level than teachers with similar longevity having completed a bachelor's degree and an additional 18 semester hours of post-graduate work (as required for a professional certificate) or a master's degree. If continuing teacher certification no longer requires post-graduate credits, there could be a move away from varying teacher pay schedules based on post-graduate credits, although any such change would still be subject to collective bargaining.
Fiscal Analyst: Bethany Wicksall
■ This analysis was prepared by nonpartisan House staff for use by House members in their deliberations, and does not constitute an official statement of legislative intent.
 See the Teacher Certification Code, R 390.1101 et seq. of the Michigan Administrative Code, http://www.state.mi.us/orr/emi/admincode.asp?admincode=Department&Dpt=ED. The department is in the process of revising its teacher certification rules following the enactment of Public Acts 100-103 of 2011, concerning teacher tenure and performance evaluations. Under the draft rules, beginning September 2013, the issuance of a professional teaching certificate would be based, in part, on the annual performance evaluation finding that the teacher is rated as "highly effective" or "effective".
 See, generally, Citizen's Research Council, Education Reform: Pre and Post Employment Teacher Training, Report 374, January 2012, http://www.crcmich.org/PUBLICAT/2010s/2012/rpt374.pdf. See also, Michigan Department of Education, Office of Professional Preparation Services, Facts on Educator Certification, September 2011, http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/Facts_About_Teacher_Certification_In_Michigan_230612_7.pdf. Section 1249 (MCL 380.1249) of the Revised School Code creates the Governor's Council on Educator Effectiveness, which is to prepare a report by April 30, 2012, on teacher evaluation processes and other related matters. The council's report is to include, among other things, "recommended changes to be made in the requirements for a professional education teaching certificate that will ensure that a teacher is not required to complete additional postsecondary credit hours beyond the credit hours required for a provisional teaching certificate."