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NC legislation aims to change teacher licensing in effort to address shortage

Mary Grey, a language specialist, helps out in the classroom.
Dan Krauss for NPR
Mary Grey, a language specialist, helps out in the classroom.

State lawmakers have filed bills in the House and Senate that would make small changes to teacher licensing.

The bills would make it easier for schools to hire back retired teachers without hurting their retirement benefits. It would also make it easier to hire military spouses who have teaching licenses in other states.

And it would help schools retain teachers who have struggled to pass required licensing exams in their subject areas. More than a thousand teachers in North Carolina are on limited licenses that can't be renewed due to difficulty passing standardized tests.

State representative Ashton Clemmons co-sponsored the House version of the bill.

We are in a crisis of kids not having teachers. And so if we can offer some flexibility and support for quality educators to stay in front of kids, we want to be able to do that.

Both bills have bipartisan sponsors and have been referred to their respective education committees.