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State wants more control over Nevada teacher licensing

The Clark and Washoe county school districts voiced opposition on Monday to a Senate bill that would establish a license for paraprofessionals and transfer the authority to revoke or suspend a teaching license to the Commission on Professional Standards in Education.

The Department of Education, which is sponsoring Senate Bill 41, is also seeking amendments that would allow the commission to publicly reprimand any teacher for unprofessional conduct or other behaviors that are grounds for the suspension or license revocation. The department also wants to be given the power to investigate complaints of misconduct by licensed educators.

Lindsay Anderson of the Washoe County School District argued that such investigations may conflict with a school district’s investigation if different conclusions are reached.

Brad Keating of the Clark County School District opposed the department’s ability to investigate employees, and questioned the definition of a public reprimand for teachers accused of misconduct.

The district was not informed of the proposed amendments until just before the committee hearing, he said.

If that’s the way the Department of Education is going to work with school districts throughout the session, Keating noted, the district “will stand in opposition to each and every one of its bills.”

Chris Daly of the Nevada State Education Association also expressed concern over licensure for paraprofessionals, and moving significant responsibilities to the Commission on Professional Standards in Education. Currently, the State Board of Education has the power to revoke or suspend teaching licenses.

The Senate Committee on Education took no action on the bill.

Contact Amelia Pak-Harvey at apak-harvey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4630. Follow @AmeliaPakHarvey on Twitter.

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