BISMARCK – North Dakota state Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler expressed support for hiring community experts to help fill a shortage of teachers during a monthly state Republican Party chairman's luncheon held Tuesday at the Bismarck Radisson.
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In addition, she outlined a series of Department of Public Instruction programs Tuesday and took questions on policy decisions before a crowd of nearly 40 area Republicans.
The state Education Standards and Practices Board forwarded an emergency administrative rule Monday to Gov. Jack Dalrymple to help address a shortage of 174 teachers statewide. The rule would allow community experts to teach in non-core subject areas, including art, health, physical education and music, for one year, which could be extended.
"We have to make sure the governor understands how important this is," Baesler said.
Baesler said someone without a four-year degree who knows music may be able to teach an elementary music class, for example.
The move is somewhat controversial as North Dakota United, the state's teachers and public employees union, came out against the draft rule on Monday.
Baesler said a teacher shortage task force she'd formed recently which includes North Dakota United representation unanimously forwarded the recommendation to Education Standards and Practices Board.
"I think in that group there's an understanding that education has to be responsive," said Baesler, who expressed hope that any community experts that apply might be inspired to finish their schooling and move into teaching full time.