Gov. Bevin signs bill helping veterans become teachers

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Gov. Matt Bevin ceremonially signed the recently enacted Senate Bill 117 on Monday, allowing more veterans to easily transition into becoming teachers.

Bevin was joined by the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Max Wise (R) Taylor County, and the Kentucky Department of Veteran Affairs commissioner, Norman Arflack.

Wise sponsored the bill after receiving a letter from a veteran asking for help, expressing concern that the old law restricted veterans from becoming teachers unless they had more schooling in a specific content subject.

“If one veteran is being turned down for a position to go into our educational workforce, that is one too many,” Wise said.

SB 177 allows veterans with a bachelor’s degree of any kind to receive a provisional certificate to teach if he or she has a major or passing assessment score in the area he or she wants to be certified. Then, after completing a teaching apprenticeship, the veteran will receive a professional teaching certificate.

Arflack said veterans “bring a wealth of knowledge” to any occupation, and this bill allows them to break into the education workforce, which is experiencing a teacher shortage in Kentucky.

“We do have a shortage,” Arflack said. “This expands the field of potential candidates that we can put in the classroom. And many of these veterans, prior to their service, would’ve never thought of being a teacher.”

Arflack believes veterans will take advantage of the bill. And he said having more veterans as teachers will help expand the horizons in the classroom.

“Something as simple as what the Pledge of Allegiance means,” Arflack said. “Or what the National Anthem means. A veteran has a whole different perspective on that.”

Bevin said school districts are already seeing a transformation in the classroom thanks to the bill, and he hopes to see more specific results in the future.

“Who better than a military veteran, who has the qualifications academically and experientially (sic), to stand in front of those students and teach them,” Bevin said.

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