Testimony of Alex Hansen – Re: HB 1481 Opposing the Bill Public Hearing before the House Transportation Committee January 30, 2017
Madame Chair and Members of the Committee: For the record, my name is Alex Hansen. I am the Legislative Liaison and President –elect of the Washington Traffic Safety Education Association. Currently, we have 135 members. According to OSPI, there are approximately 230 public school teachers teaching Traffic Safety Education in 91 school districts across Washington.
We want to thank Representatives Hayes and Bergquist for bringing this bill forward to address the very real need of lack of oversight in the public school traffic safety education programs. We also thank Representative Hayes for working hard to seek input from stakeholders to get this bill right.
Serious injuries have already occurred, possibly because a student received a driver license even though he hadn’t properly completed his driver education course. Perhaps, with proper oversight, this tragedy could have been prevented.
However, in our opinion, the bill isn’t yet “right,” and we can’t support it as it stands today. There are two main reasons we cannot support this bill.
One, is simple. There is too great a role in this bill for OSPI to perform without staff to do the job required by RCW 28A.220.330 and other sections of the bill. It remains an unfunded mandate.
Secondly, we cannot support this bill due to the requirement for what constitutes double licensing and collecting of fees from teachers to two different agencies to perform one job. Certified teachers who have gone through rigid training and expense to obtain their TSE endorsements cannot be required to be licensed by the DOL in order to continue to teach where they are already trained and certified to do so. DOL does not need to regulate certificated teachers. The Office of Professional Practice at OSPI will perform that job if a teacher violates the rules.
If you want WTSEA’s support to move this bill forward, please get this bill “right”.
1) Fund at least one staff member, preferably two, at OSPI to perform its mandated function. (Quality is improved with the synergy of two minds rather than one)
2) Give authority to DOL to audit TSE programs, yes, with authority to deny program approval.
But, with that authority you don’t need to have DOL license already certificated teachers. We can’t teach if DOL doesn’t approve a program which is out of compliance.
You do those two things, and we can support this bill.
WTSEA would be happy to work with you further to improve this bill.