Teaching and Licenses: Where Do We Go From Here?, by NEA Directors Ed Sanderson and Mike Harman


In June, the Utah State Board of Education passed a rule creating a new teacher license called the Academic Pathway to Teaching (APT). UEA spoke against the rule at the Board committee hearing and several times before the full Board.

On August 12, the Board voted unanimously to keep the new rule. "While this is not the outcome we had hoped, it is important to note the many ways in which the collective voices of our UEA members have significantly and positively impacted this issue," said our UEA President Heidi Matthews.

As teachers and someone who has a vested interest in the education of the children of Utah, we have always wondered why our representatives and elected officials cannot see the “Big” picture. It seems so clear that the way to attract and retain the best teachers is to reduce class size, improve salaries and retirement benefits and put our students (all children) first.

We wonder sometimes if “providing a great education for every child” is a goal that just we as educators hold as important. Doesn’t everyone in Utah want the same things for our children and grandchildren?

After the decision to adopt the APT, where do we go from here?

Our UEA president suggests, "let’s celebrate that this issue has given us all the opportunity to reflect on what our teaching license truly represents and how much pride we have in our profession." She also said, "let’s focus our resolve on bolstering the integrity of our professional license. We must not allow the APT to be the end of the conversation and insist instead that the crisis of the teacher shortage is addressed and not simply disguised. Regardless of the path we have taken to become a licensed teacher, let’s unite to ensure that all of our students have high quality teachers ready on day one!"

We all as educators have had to start our teaching at some point in our careers. We have all experienced the struggles of classrooms that have different diversity, children that are in the processes of growing, changing, learning, developing and living lives that are in constant change. We strive as educators to help add that balance and stability that helps each student to learn and grow.

We need to rally behind anyone that is interested and excited about teaching. We need to all be supportive and help in every way possible as we move forward in the education of all children, after all, it is our goal to see that “every child” has an opportunity to receive a great education. No matter what licensing path you have chosen to become an educator in the State of Utah, we need to support each other in every way possible to reach our goal. Every child deserves a great education, no matter the circumstance.

We hope each of you have a great experience as educators this year and that through collaboration and support from each other, we can continue to provide that great education for every child and always be striving to improve.



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