Bellino, Zorn introduce bills allowing military spouse teaching certificates

LANSING, Mich. — Teachers married to active duty military personnel stationed in Michigan would be able to immediately teach in the state under legislation sponsored by Sen. Dale Zorn and Rep. Joe Bellino.

“Michigan is home to 2,160 active military members, including 1,068 in the U.S. Coast Guard alone,” said Bellino, R-Monroe. “That brings a lot of spouses to the Great Lakes region that had successful professional careers elsewhere. The least we could do, while their military spouses are protecting our state and country, is help them continue their careers in the classroom.”

Senate Bill 365 and House Bill 4582 would create a new path for an active duty military spouse to gain temporary employment as a teacher in Michigan.

“We are increasing attention on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in our schools, because these core areas of study are critical to the future of our state,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Unfortunately, Michigan is facing a shortage of teachers in many of these subjects. Our reforms would enable teachers to come to Michigan with their active-duty spouses and quickly put their skills to work helping us provide every student with an education that prepares them for success.”

The bills would require the Michigan superintendent of public instruction to grant a one-year, temporary teaching certificate to an individual who:
• Is married to a member of the armed forces on active duty in Michigan;
• Holds an equivalent teaching certificate or license issued by another state or the District of Columbia; and
• Shows proof the spouse is assigned to a duty station in Michigan with official active duty orders.

The measures allow for annual one-year renewals, provided the requirements continue to be met.

SB 365 has been referred to the Senate Education Committee, and HB 4582 has been referred to the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.