If the Vermont Standards Board for Professional Educators doesn't settle on a new plan for teacher licensing by March 19, the Vermont-NEA will ask the Legislature to do it.
The ultimatum was discussed Thursday afternoon in the Senate Committee on Education, where new Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe and NEA president Martha Allen testified about their goals and ongoing negotiations.
"It's difficult to make progress on this, given the continuous ultimatums coming our way," Holcombe told committee members. She said the proper forum for establishing licensure standards is with the standards board.
"The Vermont-NEA is concerned about the pace at which the standards board moves," Allen responded. She said the NEA has been working with the board and Agency of Education for more than three years, but frequent turnover in membership and staffing has thwarted progress.
Both agree that Vermont needs to adopt better standards for teacher licensing and evaluation. Holcombe said 30 percent of schools do not have a consistent practice for evaluation. Allen has said that developing meaningful teacher evaluation is one of her union's primary goals.
The NEA wants to replace a longstanding measure of teacher evaluation that is currently part of relicensure: the teacher portfolio and individual professional learning plan (IPLP), which consists of reflective essays, professional goals and plans for attaining them. She said the tool has lost its value, but some members of the standards board are holding onto it.
The teachers also want to move their licensure from the standards board to the Office of Professional Regulation, in the Secretary of State's Office.