EDITORIAL: Funding great teachers

Another reminder for legislators: hundreds of millions of dollars in new education spending will create hundreds upon hundreds of new teaching positions. If the state can’t fill those positions with good educators, achievement initiatives won’t work.

So it was good to see the Senate Education Committee pass Senate Bill 474 late Tuesday. The bill would create The Great Teaching and Leading Fund to help recruit new teachers, then support professional development programs to retain them. The fund, administered by the state superintendent, would be supported by gifts, grants and any general fund appropriations lawmakers provide. Then grants would be awarded to programs that attract and train teachers the state desperately needs.

Having school districts simply accept job applications isn’t enough. The Clark County School District has more than 600 vacant licensed teaching positions and will have hundreds more this summer. The state’s colleges and universities can’t provide enough teacher candidates to fill all those positions. Nevada’s current teacher pipeline is far too small.

Yes, alternative training and licensure programs are part of the state’s teacher shortage solution, too. But SB474 is a good start. The Legislature should pass it.

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