BISMARCK — North Dakota House lawmakers approved legislation allowing unlicensed instructors to teach non-core subjects Thursday, April 18.

House Bill 1531 would allow school administrators to ask the state's teacher licensing board to issue a "permit" for an unlicensed teacher if they're unable to find a qualified applicant. The teacher would be required to complete a background check through the board.

A permitted teacher would be required to have a high school diploma, at least 4,000 hours over five years of "relevant work experience in the subject area to be taught" and other qualifications. They wouldn't be able to teach in elementary or special education, mathematics, science, language arts and social studies.

Devils Lake Republican Rep. Dennis Johnson, the bill's primary sponsor, said the legislation was intended to alleviate teacher shortages in rural areas.

The instructors' tenure would be capped at three years, and the bill sunsets in mid-2023.

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The compromise bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.