If you are a member of the Kentucky Speech and Hearing Association (KSHA), recently you may have received an electronic email survey about teacher certification. While I cannot speak to the intent of the survey sent by KSHA, I think you should be aware that recent changes to teacher preparation regulations set forth by the Educational Professional Standards Board (EPSB) have impacted our ability to assist graduate students in speech-language pathology in meeting teacher preparation education requirements. It is my hope that after sharing this information with you, if you complete the survey, you may do so as informed alumni.
In the state of Kentucky, teacher certification as a requirement for employment in the school setting is a district decision, and as such, some districts require it and others do not. Historically, the Murray State University Graduate Program in Speech-Language Pathology has been able to support our students who desire teacher certification by working with the teacher preparation personnel from the MSU College of Education. In the spring of 2012, we were informed of 16 KAR 5:040 Admission, Placement and Supervision in Student Teaching, a new regulation set by EPSB that went into effect in September of 2013. While we made a good faith effort to meet the many provisions of this regulation, we discovered the demands of the regulation exceeded what we could provide in a two year graduate program. In the summer of 2012, the five universities in Kentucky that offer graduate programs in Speech-Language Pathology got together to address the challenges brought on by the new regulation. In the fall of 2013, a coalition comprised of Murray State University, Western Kentucky University, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Louisville submitted a petition requesting a waiver from sections of 16 KAR 5:040 (Section 3 (3) and Section 6(4)(a)), while a new certificate under “other instructional services personnel” could be drafted. In October of 2013, we were permitted to speak to the full EPSB regarding our petition. At that meeting, there was recognition among the members of the EPSB that speech-language pathologists indeed are not teachers. At the conclusion of that board meeting, Robert Brown, the director, made the recommendation that the coalition work with its attorney to create the new certificate. The certificate will be modeled after other professionals who work in the school setting, such as social workers, who have a certificate entitled “Professional Certificate for School Social Workers.” It is envisioned that the new certificate would mirror our current licensure law in Kentucky.
To be clear, SLPs who currently hold the teaching certificate or want to pursue the teaching certificate would not be affected. SLPs could, though, apply for the alternative certificate.
The faculty and staff of the Murray State University Graduate Program in Speech-Language Pathology are committed to providing a broad base of clinical experiences that cut across practice settings, including educational and medical models. We value a student teaching experience and are committed to providing such an opportunity to our students. Under the current 16 KAR regulation, Murray State University students who desire teacher certification would have to extend their graduate work beyond the current two year program of studies we offer to meet the demands of the new regulation. In essence, they would need to complete the Graduate Program of Studies to qualify for the ASHA Certificate of Competence and then continue for 1-2 more terms with the teacher preparation personnel to meet the requirements for teacher certification in Kentucky.
We hope this information will help you fill out the survey as informed KSHA member and alumni of MSU.
Please contact me if you have any questions.