Washington State Tightens Oversight of Teacher Training Providers

Washington state is reevaluating its process for approving clock hour providers for teachers, prompted by concerns over the inclusion of Moms for Liberty on the approved list. Clock hours, crucial for teacher license renewal, have lacked rigorous oversight, allowing organizations like Moms for Liberty to gain approval despite concerns about their content.

State law mandates that teachers complete 100 hours of professional development every five years to maintain their licenses. However, there are few regulations governing who can offer these continuing education credits, known as clock hours, and what topics they cover.

This lack of oversight has raised concerns, especially regarding Moms for Liberty, a conservative group known for its opposition to teaching about race and gender in schools.

Despite Washington’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion standards, Moms for Liberty’s approval as a clock hour provider has stirred controversy. While no teachers have reported receiving clock hours from the organization, worries persist about its potential influence on teacher training.

In response, the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) has pushed for legislative changes to bolster oversight of clock hour providers. New legislation grants the board authority to review the content of clock hour courses and remove inadequate providers from the approved list.

Erica Hernandez-Scott, the first educator to lead the PESB, underscores the importance of maintaining high standards in teacher training. She draws parallels between education and professions like medicine and law, emphasizing the need for rigorous training protocols.

The current approval process for clock hour providers is relatively straightforward, relying on self-attestation and minimal verification. However, with the introduction of stricter guidelines, providers will face heightened scrutiny regarding their mission, expertise, and commitment to equity-based practices.

As the PESB works to implement these changes, questions linger about the future of organizations like Moms for Liberty. Hernandez-Scott stresses the importance of prioritizing educators, students, and families, suggesting that some providers may struggle to meet the new standards.

Washington state is committed to enhancing the quality of teacher training, with a focus on ensuring that clock hour providers align with the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in their professional development offerings.

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