Measure To Increase Md. Teachers' Control Of Certification Panel Dies in

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A bill that would have given Maryland teachers more control of the state's professional-standards board has died in the legislature.

Lawmakers failed to vote on the bill this month, ending a dispute between the state board and the Maryland State Teachers' Association over who should set certification policy. (See Education Week, 3/22/95.)

The standards board now shares authority for teacher certification with the state school board, which can override the other panel's actions with a supermajority vote. The bill would have removed that power.

The union contended that the plan would allow teachers--who hold a majority of seats on the standards board--to set and enforce standards for their profession, much like doctors do.

But Christopher T. Cross, the president of the state school board, and others said they feared the move would impede school reform. Some critics said teachers might try to dismantle programs they had opposed in the past, such as renewable licensure, if the standards board were given more power.

Stuck in Committee

Both groups had lobbied for the support of Gov. Parris N. Glendening, whose candidacy was backed by the union last fall, but he took no position.

Renee Spence, the director of governmental relations for the state education department, said several organizations lined up to oppose the bill, including groups representing the state's principals, local school boards, and the business community.

"We had very strong testimony against the bill," Mr. Cross said last week. "And that raised such significant questions that [lawmakers] never really got enough support to bring it out" of committee.

Karl K. Pence, the president of the teachers' union, vowed last week to resurrect the measure, contending that enough lawmakers support the plan to enact it next session.

Vol. 14, Issue 31

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