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Two state Senate bills seek to address shortage of teachers and school counselors

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Two recently introduced bills propose changes to rules for Michigan's teacher certification and school counselor licensing.

The legislation would expand reciprocity of certificates and licenses for teachers and school counselors from other states, countries, and federally recognized Indian tribes.

Daveda Colbert, superintendent of Wayne Regional Educational Service Agency, said she supports both bills.

"The need for teachers, counselors, social workers, psychologists, para-educators, bus drivers, interventionists — the list goes on — is immense throughout the state," Colbert said.

"One strategy that could aid districts in the short term is the expansion of reciprocity," said Colbert. "Not only will these changes in reciprocity support the education field, but they'll make Michigan a more attractive prospect for educators with spouses working in other industries which supports Michigan's economy."

Senate bills 161 and 162 "aim to help alleviate the shortages by improving and streamlining how the state of Michigan addresses reciprocity for teaching certificates, removing certain barriers for entry, and expanding other avenues for entry," said state Senator Erika Giess (D-Taylor), the sponsor of SB 161 and cosponsor of SB 162.

Virginia Gordan has been a part-time reporter at Michigan Radio since fall 2013. She has a general beat covering news topics from across the state.
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