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On Thursday, the Montana Board of Public Education conducted its first review of state Superintendent Elsie Arntzen’s proposed changes to regulations governing teacher licensing. The proposals were the result of a months-long regulatory revision process undertaken last year by a 24-member task force composed of teachers, administrators and other education stakeholders, and included a recommendation to offer reciprocity for military spouses licensed to teach in other states.
The regulations up for revision fall under Chapter 57 of the Office of Public Instruction’s administrative rules, which outlines the types of educator licenses available in Montana, the requirements necessary to obtain those licenses, and methods for resolving individual licensing disputes. Over a span of more than two hours, board members and OPI staff went over Arntzen’s recommendations line by line, discussing the various reasons for each. In the case of reciprocity for military spouses, Crystal Andrews, OPI’s director of educator licensing, cited written testimony from the U.S. Department of Defense noting that barriers to licensing can have a negative financial impact on military families.
“Removing these barriers, creating reciprocity in licensing requirements, and facilitating placement opportunities can help a military family’s financial stability, speed the assimilation of the family into its new location and create a desirable new employer pool for a state,” Andrews said, adding that such a licensing mechanism would have been put to use in at least four instances in Montana in 2021.
Arntzen’s proposals also include a series of regulatory alterations designed to broaden eligibility for teachers, specifically those who have entered the profession through educator preparation programs that may not be recognized in Montana. The new recommendations would no longer require teachers to complete an accredited program to obtain Montana licensure, but rather would recognize any alternative preparatory program approved by a board of education or state agency in another state. OPI’s stated rationale for the change, as well as for reducing the required years of experience for teachers from alternative pathways from five years to none, is to remove licensing barriers that may discourage educators from seeking employment in Montana.
“So we’re trusting other states, and any state agency within that state, to validate the quality of the nontraditional alternative educator prep program?” board member Tammy Lacey asked during OPI’s presentation of the recommendations.
“That is correct,” OPI Senior Manager of School Innovation and Improvement Julie Murgel replied, noting that Montana already makes such determinations on a case-by-case basis. Murgel added the board heard one such case at its November meeting, which resulted in the board approving the license.
One of the biggest shifts proposed by Arntzen impacts that very process. The Board of Public Education currently has oversight of unusual cases involving individual disputes about licensing requirements. The board heard 15 such cases last year. Prior to 2017, authority over those cases rested with the superintendent of public instruction, and Arntzen has recommended transferring that oversight back to her office. The proposal was not among the changes suggested to Arntzen by the Chapter 57 Review Task Force. Murgel explained that the proposal is intended to resolve unusual cases in a more timely manner, given that the board meets only once every two months, and to create an opportunity for individuals to appeal licensure denials to the board.
Outgoing board member Darlene Schottle recalled that the 2017 shift in oversight was designed to provide consistency in that hearing process, as superintendents and OPI staff change over time. Schottle added that in the year prior to the shift, questions were raised as to why some unusual cases had been approved and others hadn’t. Board member Anne Keith asked what Arntzen was hoping to get out of the change. In response, OPI Chief Legal Council Jake Griffith assured members that Arntzen was not “trying to usurp the board’s power in any way.”
“So we’re trusting other states, and any state agency within that state, to validate the quality of the nontraditional alternative educator prep program?”
“The idea here is that the Office of Public Instruction could process these unusual cases in a more timely fashion than having to bring them before the board,” Griffith said.
The proposed changes to Chapter 57 are now up for public comment through April 8, and a public hearing will be held in Helena on Feb. 24. The board is scheduled to take action on the revisions in May.
“I applaud the great work of the Montanans that gathered to aid in these recommendations,” Arntzen said in an email statement announcing the proposals Thursday. “I encourage our Montana parents, teachers, and community leaders to review these flexible changes that demand quality education in our Montana public schools.”
During Thursday’s meeting, board members received several other updates pertinent to teacher licensing in Montana. Andrews and OPI contractor Zam Alidina briefed the board on the latest developments in the agency’s transition to a new teacher licensing system. Alidina assured members that the project is still on track for a June 1 implementation of the new system. In the meantime, Andrews said, the licensing department is accepting paper applications for teacher license renewals as well as new licenses. In the first two weeks of January, she added, her department has received more than 200 renewal applications, and so far the process has been “seamless.”
“We knew that at the beginning it’d be heavy,” Andrews said. “The mail’s coming in very heavy, everyone’s anxious to get their licenses renewed … But it’s starting to slow down, just a little bit each day, so we will get caught up to where we need to be.”
Later, Andrews presented a report on teacher licensing activity in 2021. According to that report, OPI approved 1,646 new educator licenses, an increase of roughly 400 over the previous year. The total included 1,013 standard teaching licenses, 229 three-year provisional licenses and 99 one-year provisional licenses. The agency also granted 173 emergency employment authorizations to districts that were unable to fill positions. Of those emergency authorizations, 81 were for elementary K-8 teachers.
As Montana’s COVID stats and circumstances continue to develop, MTFP is rounding up expert answers to your latest COVID questions. Now including a new survey so you can tell us more about what you need to know.
A panel of federal judges assembled to hear a lawsuit challenging the districts used to elect Montana’s Public Service Commission indicated in a ruling Thursday that they’re hesitant to wait until 2023 to give the Montana Legislature a chance to update the districts for population change at its next regular session. Instead, the judges extended…
The backers of a constitutional initiative that would cap property tax increases on Montana homeowners have been cleared by Montana’s secretary of state to start gathering the signatures they need to have the initiative placed on the 2022 ballot. But a lawsuit filed Thursday argues that efforts by Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen and Attorney…
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Staff reporter Alex Sakariassen covers the education beat and the state Legislature for Montana Free Press. Alex spent the past decade writing long-form narrative stories that spotlight the people, the politics, and the wilds of Montana. A North Dakota native, he splits his free time between Missoula’s ski slopes and the quiet trout water of the Rocky Mountain Front. Contact Alex by email at email@example.com.
Best Indian Destination to Visit
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Delhi is the national capital of India and home to 1.17 billion people. It’s a city of contrasts where modernity coexists with ancient history. From the busy streets to the quiet temples, Delhi offers something for everyone. Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Qutub Minar, Lotus Temple, Aksherdham, Zoo, Old Fort, India Gate, Humayun Tomb are some of best Destination to visit. Apart form these You can visit:- Lajpat Nagar, sarojini Nagar, Janpath and Jama Masjid are the best Shopping Places in delhi. And in delhi you can find out best street foods menu in veg and non veg dishes.
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Jaipur- Best Indian Destination to Visit
Jaipur is the capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan. It alludes to the royal dynasty that once ruled the region and built the Old City, also known as the “Pink City” because of its distinctive building colour, in 1727. In the heart of a grand, colonnaded area lies the City Palace complex. Gardens, courtyards and museums still exist today as part of its royal house. Hawa Mahal, Jainivas Garden, City Palace, Amber Palace at Jantar Mantar, Samode, Light and Sound Show, Nahargarh Fort, Jaigarh Fort, Jal Mahal, Galtaji are some of the best places in Jaipur.
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Kashmir Valley is one of the top tourist destinations in India. Apart from its apple orchards, flower gardens and other attractions, Kashmir is famous for its natural beauty. With its distinctive handicrafts and famous Kashmiri shawls, it attracts tourists. The most popular tourist destinations in Jammu and Kashmir are Srinagar, Mughal Gardens, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Patnitop and Jammu. Many Hindu pilgrims visit Vaishno Devi and Amarnath every year, which has a significant impact on the state’s economy.
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Manali is a city in Himachal Pradesh, India. It is one of the top ski resorts in India. It is famous for its beautiful surroundings, favorable climate and extensive cultural history. It is a popular travel destination in India and attracts visitors from all over the world.
Manali is a popular honeymoon destination as you can witness snowfall and gorgeous mountain views from late December to early January. This is the ideal time for skiing enthusiasts. Camping, hiking, mountain biking, ziplining, rappelling, paragliding, downhill cycling, jeep safaris, river crossings, angling, and many other activities are available.
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The Indian state of Kerala is situated on the moist Malabar Coast. It is famous for its backwaters, network of canals and palm-fringed beaches. The Western Ghats are naturally occurring mountains that support a wide variety of plant life including tea, coffee and spice plantations. Wayanad and other sanctuaries as well as national parks like Eravikulam and Periyar are home to elephants, langur monkeys and tigers. Alleppey, Kochi, Thekkady, Munnar, Thrissur, Kovalam, Wayanad, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Kannur are best destination to visit in Kerala.
Andaman and Nicobar- Best Indian Destination to Visit
The Andaman Islands are an Indian island chain in the Bay of Bengal. And Due to the increasing popularity of beaches and adventure sports like snorkeling and sea walking, tourism to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is on the rise. Long Island, Havelock Island, Little Andaman Island, Diglipur, Parrot Island, Bharatpur Beach, Samudrika Marine Museum, Cellular Jail, Lamiya Bay Beach are some of the best spots to visit in Andaman and Nichobar. Indian tourists do not require a visa to visit the Andaman Islands, but if they wish to visit any tribal area, they require special authorization from the Deputy Commissioner at Port Blair. Foreign nationals require a permit. This clearance is given to foreign nationals coming by air on arrival at Port Blair. This can be a best Indian destination to visit.