MADISON – Today, Governor Tony Evers signed Act 84 into law which authorizes the state superintendent of public instruction to approve a teacher preparatory program if the program requires students to complete the equivalent of the student teaching required under current law. This law allows flexibility in teacher education candidates being able to complete their semester-long student teaching requirement.
Prior to Act 84 being signed, education candidates were required to complete student teaching that consisted of full days for a full semester (eighteen weeks) at a cooperating elementary or secondary school. The law did not make any exception for paraprofessionals or other non-teaching classroom-based staff to utilize their hours of employment to fulfill the student teaching requirement unless they were in unpaid status.
Rep. Myers stated, “This is a great day for education in Wisconsin; by allowing flexibility in our student teaching requirements, we open the door for paraeducators and other non-teaching professionals to earn their teacher certification. The education landscape has changed dramatically in the last thirty years; fewer individuals are entering the classroom directly from college, but are starting later in life. Act 84 recognizes this reality and adjusts our state statutes to accommodate this trend. This not only will aid us in making sure we have qualified professionals in every classroom, but ensures that we will attract a more diverse applicant pool to our profession. I am thankful for the willingness of my colleagues to come together to get this important legislation signed into law. This is evidence of what can be done when we work together in the best interest of our state.”
Act 84 was a bipartisan effort authored by Senators Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) and Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) and Representatives LaKeshia Myers (D-Milwaukee) and Mike Rohrkaste (R-Neenah).
Act 84 also marks Representative Myers’ third bill to be signed into law by Governor Evers.