MTA urges state to modify proposed ELL training regs and adjust PD requirements

The MTA has submitted public comments urging the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to allow teachers who received so-called “category training” in how to teach English language learners to count that training toward meeting new regulatory requirements under consideration. Since teachers are extremely challenged with all that is demanded of them currently, the MTA also urged the DESE to modify license renewal regulations so that teachers may count both the new ELL instruction and training in the new evaluation system toward the 150 Professional Development Points they need to renew their licenses.

In addition, the MTA asked the DESE to extend the deadline by when teachers must receive the new ELL training and said that the training should be provided at no cost to educators required to participate.

For a copy of MTA’s comments and a link to the DESE’s proposal and additional information, go to the MTA ELL Toolkit.

In a cover memo to DESE, the MTA wrote, “The MTA believes that all students deserve teachers who have the training and skills needed to teach them effectively. Our members experience first hand the challenges of teaching English language learners (ELLs) and understand the need for teachers of ELLs to receive high-quality training in Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) instruction. ELLs and their teachers will benefit if the changes required by the U.S. Department of Justice are developed with input from practitioners and implemented in a rational and orderly way.”

The proposed regulations are in a response to a finding by the U.S. Department of Justice that many Massachusetts educators have inadequate training, or no training at all, in how to teach ELLs under the state’s SEI law, which was approved by the voters in 2002.

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is scheduled to vote May 22 on the new regulations. If approved, the regulations will require tens of thousands of teachers in certain “core academic subjects” to participate in significant new professional development designed to improve how they teach ELL students.

The proposed regulations would also alter course requirements for pre-service teachers and require teachers who don’t fall under the designated “core academic teachers” requirement to receive 15 PDPs in ELL instruction and another 15 in special needs instruction in order to renew their licenses after July 1, 2014.