A lesson in teacher hiring: CCSD wants constitution requirement dropped

The Clark County School District has a problem. Even in February, it is almost 500 teachers short.

Which brings us to the Senate Education Committee, where State Senator Joyce Woodhouse is a member.

"We just want to get qualified, licensed teachers in front of classrooms in front of students, " Woodhouse tell me, explaining the rationale behind Senate Bill 20, which was proposed by CCSD.

To get new teachers, the bill would drop the requirement they know about both the U.S. and Nevada Constitution and Nevada school law.

Teachers testifying today called the requirement a burden, with no tangible impact in the classroom.

"After all, there is no direct correlation between student achievement, teachers taking and passing the test regarding Nevada school law, Nevada Constitution and the US Constitution," said CCSD teacher Stephanie Laramie.

"If somebody is a history teacher they're obviously going to know these things. But if you're a math teacher, you don't necessarily have to know those things if this bill passes. And that's what the fix is," said John Vellardita, the Executive Director of the Clark County Education Association.

Supporters say it would speed up hiring, especially in hard to hire subjects.

"We need teachers," State Senator Mo Denis told me, adding, "we need people in the classrooms. We have too many long term subs." Denis chairs the committee.

But for Republican State Senator Scott Hammond, who's also on the committee, and who's a teacher, the requirements aren't an undue burden.

"I don't think it's that much of an obstacle, to be honest with you. I haven't seen too many teachers not get into the profession or not be able to get that license because of this one requirement," says Hammond.

Andre Yates, the Human Capital Management Director at the Clark County School District, testified CCSD loses up to ten teachers a year who fail the requirements.

The teachers union says it's an issue that does keep some out-of-state teachers away.

"We have personally heard from out of state educators who are top shelf in their core competency," Vellardita tells me.

Meanwhile, Nevada's biggest school system and the 5th biggest district in the country says it needs help as it tries to hire every teacher it can.

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