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MEA opposes "fast track" teacher certification

By Nick Lien, Michigan Public Radio Network

MT. PLEASANT, MI – The Michigan Education Association is speaking out against a proposal that would lessen the requirements needed to become a teacher.

The lower requirements call for a "fast track" certification process that would take 15 months to complete. That compares to the four or five years it takes teachers now.

The proposal was introduced as a way to increase the number of teachers in schools across the state.

But Ed Sarpolus of the MEA says Michigan already has too many teachers.

"If we're laying off teachers we're sending teachers out of state how can there be a teacher shortage? How can that be when thousands of kids graduate every year from our universities and can't find work, and we're laying off thousands of teachers right now in Michigan, saying we don't have enough kids for them to teach? The numbers don't seem to add up," he said.

Sarpolus says the lower requirements would be unfair to students. He says there would be less of a focus on teacher quality.

The proposal is up for consideration by the State Board of Education on August 11.

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