Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is considering emergency regulations that would allow teachers in the state who do not complete a required family engagement course to stay in the classroom next year.
A spokeswoman confirmed Sandoval was reviewing possible measures Wednesday afternoon after the Las Vegas Review-Journal revealed as many as 900 educators are at risk of losing their provisional licenses if they fail to complete the college-level course as required by state law.
The Nevada Department of Education is involved in the conversation, said Greg Bortolin, a spokesman for the department, adding that he couldn’t provide any details.
“They are looking at this closely to see what, if any, action can be taken,” he said.
State Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, said he began pushing for the emergency regulation Wednesday after reading about the issue in the Review-Journal. Roberson said he didn’t vote for the measure when it was passed in 2011. The regulation took effect in 2015.
“The point is that we can fix this so that hundreds of teachers aren’t out of work,” he said. “We cannot be adding burden after burden and obstacle after obstacle to come to Clark County and come to the state,” said Roberson, who is running for lieutenant governor.
The law requires Nevada teachers to take and pass a state-approved college-level course on parent and family engagement. The three-credit course takes a full semester. The department said Tuesday it plans to notify as many as 900 teachers who have not yet completed the course via email this week.
Some of those teachers are likely working toward compliance, either having already taken the course but not filed the paperwork or signed up for summer courses, state officials say. But those officials estimate that some 500 educators could miss their deadlines, which would exacerbate Nevada’s teacher shortage.
Family engagement is often taught to educators in other coursework in other states and is rarely taught as a stand-alone course, meaning educators coming from out-of-state often don’t meet that requirement. They are able to earn a provisional license from the state and have one year to take the course, which can cost between $400 and $1,600.
Teachers who spoke to the Review-Journal this week cited time and money as major factors in not having completed the course.
Andre Long, chief human resource officer for the Clark County School District, said the requirement is also a hindrance in recruiting teachers nationwide.
“Pretty much anytime there’s a provision put on a license, whether it’s that or whether it’s the second language course, it’s just something else that someone has to do before they have a licence here,” Long said. “We’re in competition for those same college graduates.”
For a “family engagement” course to satisfy Nevada’s requirements, it must be a three-credit college level course and must include an emphasis on building relationships, outreach to families and developing an appreciation and understanding of families from diverse backgrounds, according to the Nevada Department of Education.