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Helping Get Good Teachers Certified

With shortages of teachers in some subjects and some areas of West Virginia becoming a critical problem, it makes sense to make the profession more attractive to those who understand subject matter but may lack pedagogical training.

Efforts to accomplish that are ongoing. Last week, Ohio County Board of Education members heard a suggestion to improve the process.

School system Human Resources Director Susan Nolte is proposing Ohio County partner with the state Department of Education to begin a new teacher certification initiative. It would be for people who have knowledge of and backgrounds in subject areas such as mathematics and science, but lack state certification as educators.

Multiple “alternative certification” pathways already exist. Locally, West Liberty University provides one. It is a three-year program. Enrollees pay tuition.

Nolte’s idea would be for a one-year program at no cost to enrollees.

That certainly would be appealing to potential new teachers.

Clearly, the idea needs to be refined. For example, should the county school system be responsible for costs of people who enroll in the program but do not complete it?

Care also would need to be taken to ensure participants get all the teaching tools they need to convey subject matter to students.

All that said, local and state officials should consider how to make Nolte’s suggestion work — not, as so often is the case, why the bureaucracy insists it cannot work.

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