Currently, as it stands, the WTSEA Board is in opposition to the bill. We believe it will hurt both teachers and public school TSE programs, and fail in its purpose to increase quality. Following are 5-Bullet Points for opposing HB 1481:
SHB 1481 seeks to do the right thing, but in the wrong way. Yes, it attempts to provide a mechanism for oversight of public school Traffic Safety Education (TSE) programs that haven’t had any since the Legislature cut the funding in 2002. It also hopes to create more uniformity by designating one primary agency, the DOL, to provide oversight to both public school and commercial driver training schools. Good intention. Wrong mechanism. Why?
Unfunded Mandate - Rightly so, the bill recognizes that public schools are not businesses and have unique features that require OSPI to remain involved in the administration of public school TSE programs. Accordingly, the bill retains a significant administrative role for OSPI in RCW 28A.220.030 and elsewhere. Yet, there is no funding provided for staff to carry out that role. The fiscal note includes a request for 4.7 FTEs at DOL, and none for OSPI. Therefore, the bill remains an unfunded mandate, and the language referring to OSPI’s role, and CWU’s role in curriculum development, are meaningless and unacceptable. The same objectives can be achieved with less fiscal impact simply by funding 2-3 FTEs at OSPI. (And this can be done so from a dedicated account source from traffic tickets, so as not to put pressure on funding basic education) The Legislature should fix what it broke in 2002 by funding the mandate of 28A.220.
DOL - Wrong Agency for a Public School Program: Regulatory Mindset vs Education Mindset - The bill will absolutely fail to produce the “quality” program it envisions because DOL auditors are not educators. The DOL is a regulatory agency with a regulatory, business and driver-licensing mindset. They lack an education mindset. This is a well-known weakness pronounced by the commercial driving schools under DOL authority, and is even recognized by the sponsor, Rep. Hayes, himself. The DOL has no skill or experience in teaching or education, yet they are assigned responsibility for curriculum development and management of teaching and learning. There is little confidence that the DOL will be able to hire an appropriate curriculum expert because the salary offered will be too low to attract a properly qualified person, assuming the Legislature appropriates the requested FTE in the first place.
Nullification of a TSE teacher’s certificate – This bill effectively nullifies the ability of a TSE teacher to teach in a public school under the certificate already gained. It changes the rules on current teachers by requiring them to be “double licensed,” paying renewal fees to two agencies to teach in one public school program. This is wrong for three reasons. One, it treats a TSE endorsement differently than other subject matter endorsements. It singles out a TSE teacher to serve two masters for the authority to teach in a public school where they are already certificated to teach under that endorsement legally, while other endorsements are not subject to such a requirement for a separate license. It is not OK to treat a public school TSE teacher as if they are working for a business, when they are not. The DOL authority over licensing of business professionals under Chapter 18.235 RCW is applicable to businesses and professionals working for private businesses, not for public school certified teachers. Second, anytime a new rule comes into effect (i.e. a change in certification and renewal requirements), the state has always applied the new certification rules only to new teachers becoming certified on or after the effective date of the new rules, allowing them to continue to teach if they meet the requirements of the certificate they originally held. This is the purpose and function of a “grandfather clause.” Continually, Rep. Hayes has professed his intention to “keep whole” public school teachers. Only a true grandfather clause would do that. But, the grandfather clause in SHB 1481 is only for two years, 2018 to 2020. Third, the stipulation to have public school teachers become licensed by the DOL is unnecessary. Since the bill gives DOL auditing and program approval authority over public school TSE programs, all it has to do is refuse to grant program approval. If that is denied, the teacher can’t teach TSE anyhow. Further, the DOL can refuse to renew program approval so long as an offending teacher is allowed by a school district to teach TSE. Finally, since the public school teacher is teaching under the authority of the OSPI- granted certificate, then that is the agency to apply appropriate discipline through the Office of Professional Practice, not DOL.
Unequal treatment of Conditional Teachers - The bill also treats conditionally certified teachers differently, requiring them to meet all of the requirements of 46.82.330, while exempting the requirements of paragraphs (2) (d) and (e) only for a teacher certified under 28A.410 “with a regular certificate who has obtained a traffic safety endorsement or a letter of approval to teach traffic safety education from the superintendent of blic instruction.”(Page 8, line 13) This is also unfair, as it treats one class of teachers (conditional teachers) differently than others, even though they have already received training that meets or exceeds the requirements of paragraph (d). Once again, the rules are being changed for teachers who have already met current requirements. Such treatment of OSPI certificated teachers in the public schools, barring them from being able to teach according to the certificates they already hold is unprecedented. This should not even be legal to do, but even if it is, as the code reviser claims, it doesn’t meet Rep. Hayes’ self-proclaimed goal of keeping teachers “whole.” The implications of this language are catastrophic to a TSE program which relies on conditional teachers to offer a TSE program. The burden of time and expense to be retrained will be prohibitive.
It Nullifies the need for anyone to take the CWU Endorsement Courses, thus ultimately Ending Public SchoolTSE Programs - If one can simply receive a DOL license under 46.82.330 by taking s DOL-approved course of merely 60 hours at a current cost of approximately $500, why would anyone take a series of four rigorous, university accredited courses at the current expense of $4,000 for 14 credits (140 hours) of training? This bill will kill the demand for those courses. Once the endorsement courses are no longer being offered (currently only in the summers by CWU), OSPI has already declared they will cancel the TSE endorsement. This will have the effect of killing the public school TSE programs over time. It will also degrade the quality of teacher training in our state. Those two consequences ought to be rendered unacceptable. It becomes a safety issue. The bill must be amended to prevent this domino-effect from taking place.
WTSEA, accordingly, testified against the bill in the House Transportation Committee public hearing on January 30, 2017. Our testimony speeches are available here as attachments.
Currently, the sponsor of the bill, Representative Hayes from the 10th district (Camano Island), is working on making amendments to the bill to address our concern over DOL licensing of certified teachers. He has been very generous in receiving feedback to improve the bill in other areas which will enhance the quality of TSE in the state. (This includes taking the opportunity to implement some recommendations from the NHTSA Assessment)
Representative Hayes is very sincere in trying to address the oversight issue in what he believes is the best way possible. Though we do not agree this bill’s approach is the best way, we remain committed to a continuing dialogue with him in an effort to get this bill “right.” We really do appreciate his heart and his commitment to work with WTSEA and other stakeholders.
WTSEA has submitted suggestions for improving the bill to Representative Hayes. These are attached for your review. The highlighted words are the changes we would like to see. Everything not highlighted is the language Hayes has in his bill.
You will note that the bill is amending several sections of current law (RCW 28A.220, RCW 46.82, etc.) New language is underlined or identified as a “New Section.” Old language to be deleted has a strike-out line in double parenthesis. ((strike-out)). There are a few confusing lines in our document due to formatting issues while converting the pdf document into Word so that we could insert our suggested language as follows:
Yellowis language we need to see in order for us to support the bill.
Greenis language we would like to see; it is important.
Pink represents language we wish to strike out.
Turquoisesimply identifies all of the places where the name “driver training education school” appears.
We do not like that name because we find it redundant and poor English usage. We don’t agree with the need to change from “traffic safety education.” That designation was chosen in 1977 for good reason. But, if the name must be changed, we prefer the simpler “driver education.” e to edit.
The latest: As of February 6, Rep. Hayes is working with his staff to write a “striker amendment” which strikes the original bill and replaces it with different language. He agreed to go forward with a striker amendment after discussions with WTSEA’s legislative liaison over concerns with the original bill. We are hoping Hayes has considered our suggestions and that the new language in his amended bill will be something we can accept.
The House Transportation Committee will hold the executive session on HB 1481 soon. That is where the members of the committee will debate the bill, taking into consideration the hearing and all comments received.
They will vote on whether to recommend the bill to move it forward. If it receives a “DO PASS” recommendation, it will be sent to the Rules Committee. They will review the bill and decide whether to move it to the House floor for debate (2nd Reading) and consideration for passage (3rd Reading). If approved there, it will proceed to the Senate, where the process begins again. If it passes in the Senate, it goes to the Governor for signing.
You may track the progress of the bill and offer your comments along the way at the link provided. We will update this page as things develop.
We wish to hear from you as to whether you support or oppose the bill. We wish to know if there will be any negative impact to your programs if the bill passes.