Speedier teacher licensing process proposed for experienced college grads

DES MOINES — The chairman of the House Education Committee has come up with a plan that would let college graduates with three years of work experience get a teaching license within a year.

Republican Representative Dustin Hite of New Sharon said Iowa school administrators tell him they’re having a hard time hiring teachers.

“Making sure that we have quality, qualified teachers for years to come is just important to all Iowans,” Hite said during a news conference on the House floor. “It’s certainly important to people like me who have kids in school.”

These alternative licenses would be for potential teachers in 7th through 12th grade courses and Hite’s proposal would require applicants to complete an internship in a classroom and 15 additional hours of college credit. That’s faster than the current pathway for college grads seeking a license to teach in Iowa. Hite said he’s hoping his plan will appeal to people with life experience in key occupations who are looking for a second career.

“They’re saying, you know: ‘I’m done with that job. I’m done with the rat race…but I’d love to give back to my community through becoming a teacher,’” Hite said.

Hite expects his idea would find new teachers for urban and rural schools.

“There’s people who have a range of different jobs,” Hite said. “Down where I live we have a lot of different industries. We have Cargill, so we have chemists who work there. We’ve got Vermeer and Musco, so we have engineers who work there, so I think you actually will find a lot of those people throughout the state.”

Hite expects his plan will be considered in the House Education Committee later this week or early next week. A copy of the bill is not yet available on the legislature’s website.