Article Updated March 1, 2021
POE often receives reports that teachers are overwhelmed by the amount of reoccurring professional learning courses required each year — like the annual bloodborne pathogen training, for example. Many teachers would prefer to opt out of such trainings and pass an exam or simply take the training courses less frequently, like every 3rd or 5th year instead of every year.
House Bill 1593, authored by Rep. Melissa Provenzano, takes steps to address these issues by reducing some of the yearly training requirements.
Under current law and the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE), the three following trainings are required each year: Alcohol and Drug Awareness, Mental Health Needs of Students, and Workplace Safety Training in Schools. The Digital Teaching and Learning training is also required by law but an annual reoccurrence is not mandated.
HB1593 would require the three annual trainings — Drug and Alcohol Awareness, Mental Health Needs of Students, and Workplace Safety Training in Schools — be taken every 3 years instead of annually. Additionally, the bill would make the Digital Teaching and Learning training a requirement for first-year teachers and would leave the possibility of additional digital trainings to the discretion of individual school districts.
“While training for improvement can be a good thing, overwhelming professional development requirements can take time away from planning and preparing for our kids,” explained Provenzano during her committee presentation. “Examining our requirements for efficiency must be a part of the process.”
After unanimously passing the House Education Committee by a vote of 13-0, HB 1593 passed House General assembly on Monday, March 1 with a vote of 74-19. the The bill will now head to the Senate for further consideration.
Please look for POE’s member survey addressing professional learning requirements soon and be sure to check back with Capitol Corner as we follow the progress of HB 1593.