May 19, 2013

Denver Public Schools Wants Colorado To Make Training To Teach English Learners Mandatory


DPS wants Colorado to make training to teach English learners mandatory
By Zahira Torres
May 12, 2013

Colorado has a shortage of teachers with specialized English-learner training, as well as classrooms that may have an insufficient curriculum for teaching the growing population of students who need help with English, according to a report released Tuesday by Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia.

Two DPS board members said the district must take a tougher stance in pushing for changes, including insisting that universities train teachers to work with English learners before they graduate.

"When the second-largest district in our state declines to hire graduates from our local universities because they don't meet our qualifications, you can bet that those programs are going to be retooling quickly," board member Andrea Merida said. "We have the political power to insist on the very best for our children."

Representatives for teacher training programs, including Metropolitan State University of Denver, said they are not against requiring that teachers have a linguistically diverse endorsement, which is a certification to teach English learners, on their licenses before they graduate.

But Metro officials said the school is bound by state requirements that a bachelor's degree in teaching requires no more than 120 hours of course work. A certification to teach English learners requires about 24 credit hours. Universities would have to eliminate other classes to make the certification a requirement for a degree.

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