Rule change: Utah schools can tap experts to fill teaching void

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • KarenLaRae2 Taylorsville, UT
    June 13, 2016 2:49 p.m.

    There is a HUGE difference between KNOWING a subject and being able to TEACH a subject! Classroom management is not a minor issue ... nor is being asked to manage five or six classrooms of 35-40 students if you are a middle or high school teacher. There is an alternative route to teaching now, and it would be interesting to see what the "staying power" is of those teachers. I know my sister-in-law teachers 9th grade math, and none of the match teachers at her high school who came through the alternative route ended up staying more than a year. I'm sure there are some who are able to handle it, but hard data would be useful.

  • Husker1 Northern Utah County, UT
    June 13, 2016 1:26 p.m.


    Your last sentence touches on the root cause of the problem. The state does not have the money to fix education and they do not want to take measures (raising taxes) to get the money. My suggestion has always been to simply to have a class fee for every class, so the more kids you have the more you pay into public education. It's equitable and fair.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    June 13, 2016 1:19 p.m.

    Make the pay better and teachers will stay in the profession longer and more people will want to become teachers. I'm not sure we need a laid off engineer teaching math when all he/she is going to do is leave at the first chance they get. And most, as said on these posts, aren't that great at teaching. Make being a teacher a respected job with good pay and things will change, stay this course and disaster awaits for our public schools.

  • Husker1 Northern Utah County, UT
    June 13, 2016 11:44 a.m.

    The state already has an Alternate Route to Licensure (ARL) program in place. This is our State School Board kicking the can down the road. Their "discussions" about how to attract and keep new teachers have been going on for over a decade and will continue for the next decade until the crisis causes schools to close.

  • littlemissknowitall Provo, UT
    June 12, 2016 11:23 p.m.

    I refuse to mentor a teacher during my contract hours. I am overloaded as it is. I don't have time to babysit a teacher who didn't bother to go to school and learn the skills needed. We have jobs to do; the state school board needs to step up and mentor all these teachers. Please people! We teachers are not your mommy and we're not your daddy. We will not bend over backward to make you happy. If you don't have the money to pay teachers, lower class sizes, and build schools, then get out of the education business, and start shutting the doors.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    June 12, 2016 9:25 a.m.


    Sorry but you are not correct. I am a local teacher association leader and the UEa has never opposed ARL. Have they said that ARL is not the answer to the teacher shortage yes. Have they advocated teachers be required to take course work to learn teaching skills (classroom management, lesson planning etc) yes. Have they even advocated that we use ARL teachers especially in Career Technical Education (CTE) areas yes. My son against my suggestion went the ARL route, he will finish it in one year with basically one class per week. The cost to him will be under $1000.00. I understand that is not free, but it is much cheaper and less time consuming than if he would have completed an education degree in college.

    Your statement that a content area expert can just walk in and teach does not match my experience. For every ARL content expert I have seen that has come in and even lasted five years I have seen five who have not. Excluding CTE teachers I have seen very few that have come in and been outstanding teachers, and almost 0 in the area of math. That is just my experience over 30 years.

  • squirt Taylorsville, ut
    June 12, 2016 8:33 a.m.

    Lew the "education establishment" as you refer to are the individuals who end up having to mentor these folks. It is time intensive and nearly impossible to teach my class and mentor folks who need a ton of mentoring. Those folks who graduate from teacher ed programs are better prepared to step into a classroom. They have spend semesters in classrooms learning pedagogy and classroom management techniques as well as have a complete understanding of child development and child psychology.
    The path should be complex prior to entering a classroom. I do not want children to have an unqualified teacher in front of them just as I would not want an unqualified doctor treating me.
    Your statements reflect a lack of understanding and respect for the profession of teaching.

  • FanOfTheSith Vernal, UT
    June 12, 2016 1:41 a.m.

    I guess pretty soon they will go to the colleges and mandate that graduates will be drafted to be Teachers for 3 years......LOL! Utah Teachers who won't mind living in remote villages for a few years can make mega bucks for teaching in a remote town up in Alaska and be able to pay off their student loans in no time, if they are recent college graduates.

  • statman Lehi, UT
    June 11, 2016 4:41 p.m.

    For those who are saying this already exists, you are wrong.

    Yes there are SIMILAR rules in place that allow districts to take non-certified teachers, but in the older rules, a) the districts don't have to accept such candidates, and b) a non certified teacher has to complete several semesters of teaching course work in order to be licensed after three years (student teaching wouldn't be required, for obvious reasons).

    I also seem to remember that under the old rules, you have to have a certain number of graduate hours in your area of expertise, where this doesn't seem a requirement of the new rules.

    So this does constitute a significant change in the rules. These create a statewide universal alternate path to licensure that doesn't require those with demonstrated expertise in an area and competence in the classroom to become licensed without going back to school.

  • Britian Seattle, WA
    June 11, 2016 3:20 p.m.

    Stone age teacher wages in one of the most educated populations in the US. With all that teachers are required to do in and out of the classroom, no wonder the first-year retention rate is so low. When all of the hours a teacher spends to do the job, they are working for minimum wages or less. Oh, When will they ever learn, oh when will they ever learn?

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    June 11, 2016 2:50 p.m.

    The teacher shortage is generally in the fields of math and science and special education.

    There might be a lot of applicants for any said job but qualified applicants are a bit harder to find.

    In rural schools, often teachers have to do multiple roles teaching maybe English and PE and coach. These districts are less affluent and jobs are actually fewer in number. A school like Escalante HS might have 10 teachers total where the math department of a 5A school in an urban area might have as many or more teachers. For better or worse rural schools will often favor hiring former graduates, relatives of prominent members of the community etc. At one level lit makes sense because these people know the community and are more likely to stay there longer. Urban teachers are more likely to leave the profession and change schools.

    The bigger problem is teaching turnover. Good or promising young teachers get frustrated and leave the profession. Older teachers nearing retire can't wait to get out of what has become a toxic system. In about ten years I would expect schools to have few veteran teachers and constantly turning over new people.

  • Lew Elton Jeppson Salt Lake City, UT
    June 11, 2016 12:38 p.m.

    "You can have a very, very brilliant mathematician who cannot just automatically communicate that information to a class of 40, 13-year-olds."

    Not likely.

    "Jones said the association isn't opposed to alternative paths to licensure, "

    Yes they are.

  • Lew Elton Jeppson Salt Lake City, UT
    June 11, 2016 12:32 p.m.

    @Utah Teacher "At our school we have had about 5 people on the alternative route to licensure plan. Not one of them has followed through on the requirements to get a license and then they quit after year 3."

    Yep, because the path is just to complex, and the would be teacher has to pay for the ed classes while dealing with a low pay teacher job. The education establishment doesn't want anyone who hasn't gone the college of education route. Period.

  • Llew40 Sandy, UT
    June 11, 2016 11:11 a.m.

    What teacher shortage?
    I graduated in 2003 with my bachelors in Elem Ed, pounded the pavement working as a long term substitute teacher and interviewing like crazy for that elusive contracted position that never appeared. Tired of being treated like a glorified babysitter, unable to survive on a substitute's meager salary, I gave up.
    According to UOE (Utah Office of Ed) in order to return to the field as an ARL (alternate route licensure) I need to be teaching while working with my school principal. That's not gonna happen. Not when there's plenty of naïve college graduates coming down the pipeline to take my place who will learn the same lessons I did all those years ago: it is impossible to keep order in overcrowded classrooms, supplies are nonexistent, your hands are tied and no one, including your principal, treats you like the professional you thought you were.
    There is no teacher shortage in Utah!

  • Riverton Cougar Riverton, UT
    June 11, 2016 11:00 a.m.

    As some have mentioned, I'm pretty sure the reason the thought "I should go into teaching" isn't because of the certification requirements, but rather because of facing the prospect of going from $70-80k to $35k. In addition, when they get there they see the behavior issues and that isn't comforting.

    "1. Teaching in more rural schools is completely different than teaching in urban schools. All students pretty much speak the same language and cultural backgrounds. Parents in rural areas often teach their children better manners. Rural kids know how to actually put forth some effort -- they're up feed calves at 5 in the morning."

    There is a lot of truth here as far as behavior goes, but I think you need to add the fact that the population is so small in the rural areas of Utah that schools need very few teachers to fully staff the school. Teachers go there, love it, stay a long time, and when they do leave it's not terribly difficult for the school to fill the void. Suburban and urban schools not only have far worse students to deal with, they need lots of teachers to maintain the school.

  • Utah Teacher Orem, UT
    June 11, 2016 10:55 a.m.

    If we had an actual teacher's union in Utah, we would simply refuse to be the mentor for these "alternative candidates".

    Since we care more about the students than our own well-being, we will probably continue to mentor them and hold their hands while they get their feet wet in the education world for a couple of years. Then they will quit.

    Sooooooo frustrating to be a good teacher in Utah and continually get dumped on.

  • Red Smith American Fork, UT
    June 11, 2016 10:23 a.m.

    Let's be real. Public Education is Day Care.

  • Cookie999 Sandy, UT
    June 11, 2016 10:04 a.m.

    As a substitute in the Canyons District making about $11,000 last year, it seems board member Leslie Castle's comment "then we will have substitutes in the classroom" sounds like a threat. Wow. Maybe that is part of the problem right there. No public school district in Utah even pays substitute teachers more than $12 an hour, in spite of college experience being required. Cache County might be the worst, at $8 an hour because of a middleman in the form of Kelly Educational Services (and I have nothing against Kelly Services, as I used to work with them 20 years ago). Both of my parents were substitute teachers in the Jordan School District for more than a decade each, and both of them graduated at the top of their high school classes as valedictorian and salutatorian. I also graduated as valedictorian. All three of us had bachelor's degrees from the University of Utah and BYU. My mother was even certified to teach elementary education. I cannot get the Canyons superintendent to raise wages to match the districts which are next to us. Fix the sub system first, and you will get more people who will want to teach long-term.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    June 11, 2016 9:32 a.m.

    What void? Washington County: No teaching jobs. Iron County: No teaching jobs. Garfield County: No teaching jobs. Kane County: No teaching jobs. Piute County: No teaching jobs. Beaver County: No teaching jobs. Where is this void?

    May I offer two possible reasons for the question?

    1. Teaching in more rural schools is completely different than teaching in urban schools. All students pretty much speak the same language and cultural backgrounds. Parents in rural areas often teach their children better manners. Rural kids know how to actually put forth some effort -- they're up feed calves at 5 in the morning.

    2. Or Utah's school districts are so starved for money that they can't hire any teachers.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    June 11, 2016 9:26 a.m.

    No One of Consequence said it perfectly.. It's one of the best posts I've seen here in a long time.

  • DougSegesman Bountiful, UT
    June 11, 2016 9:07 a.m.

    What void? Washington County: No teaching jobs. Iron County: No teaching jobs. Garfield County: No teaching jobs. Kane County: No teaching jobs. Piute County: No teaching jobs. Beaver County: No teaching jobs. Where is this void?

  • jjteach SLC, UT
    June 11, 2016 8:23 a.m.

    Really IQ92? Who are you to determine someone's success? With IQ92's fixed mindset, people should be working at Wal-mart as a greeter when they retire!

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 11, 2016 8:15 a.m.

    The difference between public education and private education is the profit motive of the teachers. In public education the motivation is to make good citizens for our civilization whereas in private education the motivation is to make good workers and consumers for the local businesses.

    Public educators are more interested in teaching how to learn and how to use the tools of education. Private education is to indoctrinate the student with only the knowledge to do the jobs for private business.

    Both points of view are acceptable in the concept of America. And should be available to the student according to his own wishes and those of his parents.

    Education success could be improved if we allowed a free market to be available. There should be two types of schools, a local school system with local motivation and a national school system with broader motivation. Each of the two types should be paid for by the people who control the motivation.

  • teachermom6 Northern Utah, UT
    June 11, 2016 8:05 a.m.

    This article makes it seem as though this is a "new idea". Well it isn't! This program has been around for quite some time now. If alternative routes to licensure are so great, why hasn't it been working? Two of my former colleagues were ARL candidates, and guess what...they are no longer decided to go home due to the pressure and stress, and the other works for the district because the job paid more. No one on the school board or in the legislature can seem to get it through their head that maybe teachers are tired of the "glorified calling" and actually need to be paid more to survive. As a parent, can you imagine having year after year of teachers for your child who don't know what they are doing? My first year of teaching, although graduated from one of the best schools in the state, did not adequately prepare me for the riggers of the Utah classroom. My former colleagues were psych majors, this helped a little, but not much.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    June 11, 2016 7:46 a.m.

    This is nothing new, we already have an alternate route licensure (ARL) program that sounds exactly like this one. The state is working hard at avoiding all the solutions that work. There are 3 that would make a big difference. First compensation, you want quality you have to for it. Second get rid of the education bureaucracy. The legislature passes 50-100 new Ed laws every year. School Boards both state and local feel a need to justify their existence by adding more. Teachers are constantly trying to hit a new target. Three cut the amount of time students are in school and give teachers adequate paid time to prepare.

    These little inconsequential changes mean nothing. The data was in the article as to why we are having a shortage in this did nothing to address the data. But it didn't cost anything so that's the typical type of solution.

  • squirt Taylorsville, ut
    June 11, 2016 7:23 a.m.

    There are so many problems with this Board rule that I am not sure where to begin. I am an award-winning teacher with almost 40 years in the classroom. This is not the answer. But I am compelled to speak my truth with regard to what message this sends to educators. First, the Board clearly does not respect the complexity of teaching-the pedagogy, classroom management, child psychology and child development. All of these are necessary in order to be a skilled educator. Content knowledge is the easiest piece to acquire but the previously mentioned items take years and experience and mentoring in order to master.
    The State Board is putting another band aid on this problem. Disrespecting teachers and the teaching profession. The sheer amount of mentoring these folks will need is staggering. Oh, but wait, they will want those teachers who graduated with a teaching degree to teach them all of these necessary skills! Once again, the State Board shows its contempt for the educator workforce in Utah.

  • IQ92 hi, UT
    June 10, 2016 11:23 p.m.

    Not a bad idea fir some. While not solving all retention in one fellle swoop, it does offer one more options.

    Btw, Rick, you are on not one but two lifetime pensions, and you want a third? My spouse appreciates in her class many valuable retired volunteers.

  • No One Of Consequence West Jordan, UT
    June 10, 2016 10:13 p.m.

    At the risk of sounding harsh, this proves that our children are being "educated" by people with no common sense. I respect many good teachers but many administrators have lost their way. Life is made up of story problems. Not enough graduates from the teaching colleges and too many leaving the the field soon after they start tells a story. Teaching has always paid poorly compared to many other professions. Teaching has always attracted those who want to help future generations more than they want to amass wealth. But the system is broken; the joy is gone.

    A teacher is expected to watch every word they say, never uttering the wrong opinion in front of the children. They are scrutinized in their personal lives. They are expected to maintain classroom order without traditional disciplinary methods and without support from administration or parents.

    Many children raised in our media-rich, constantly-active world don't learn well in a traditional classroom environment. We need to individualize the experience. It is time for a complete overhaul of the system because it is broken - both teachers and students know it.

    What exactly is the attraction for these "experts" to join the fray?

  • CPick Lehi, UT
    June 10, 2016 9:50 p.m.

    This is completely ridiculous. Utah needs to wake up. The legislature is working to get more people into teaching by making it easier for professionals to get in the classroom. Great! But why don't we try to keep teachers by actually paying them what they are worth? Increasing teacher pay will keep teachers in the classroom. Many citizens of Utah are so worried about increased taxes and having to pay more for education - but you can't get quality teachers who stay unless you are willing to pay them, and that needs to come out of the pockets of our citizens. We moved here from NJ where our property taxes on a similar sized house were $12,000 a year. And there were school fees also. And teachers were paid double what they are paid here - with smaller class sizes. And they made it a lifelong career. We moved here, are paying $2700 for property taxes, and I constantly hear people in my community whine about the problems of education. Utah citizens need to suck it up and open their pockets for the quality education they want.

  • Rick for Truth Provo, UT
    June 10, 2016 8:55 p.m.

    I am a retired naval officer with a BS in math and physics, I have a masters in Computer Science. After a 23 year military career, I became a licensed math teacher and taught in CA high schools for 20 years. Moved back home to Utah, and 6 months latter I decided I wanted back into the classroom. Utah not only would not honor my CA teaching credential but said I had to go back to school for 12 semester credits. No thanks, I didn't need to work, only wanted to help out.

  • MaxPower Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 10, 2016 7:52 p.m.

    Free market at work. Treat teacher like crud...and you will soon find you are out of teachers.

    If I were to quit my industry job and teach as the article suggests I can, my salary would be cut in more than half. So...i am not sure this will help much.

  • Utah Teacher Orem, UT
    June 10, 2016 7:45 p.m.

    This is hilarious. Now they think they are going to tap into all of the unemployed engineers to come teach math in Utah for $35,000 a year?

    At our school we have had about 5 people on the alternative route to licensure plan. Not one of them has followed through on the requirements to get a license and then they quit after year 3. Guess who ends up having to train yet another new teacher year after year?

    That is right, it is me. The regular classroom teacher. For no added pay or benefits, I get to train and monitor a new teacher year after year. This burdens my already overloaded schedule and drains my enthusiasm for the job.

    This seems like a great idea on paper, but it isn't going to change things one bit.

    It is time to face the fact that if we want more teachers, we are going to have to pay them a decent salary.

    I put this idea into the "swing and a miss" category.