State lawmaker introduces bill hoping to solve statewide teacher shortage


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s no secret, we need more teachers in this state. With the legislative session right around the corner, one State Representative is hoping to change that by introducing a new program.

After 19 years of teaching, State Rep. Debbie Sarinana (D) says it’s time for some changes.

“We do have a teacher shortage all over the state. Primarily in special education, math, and science. Those areas,” she says.

That’s why the Manzano High School math teacher is sponsoring House Bill 92, in hopes of starting a Teacher Residency Program.

“They’d work together like a doctor and a resident. This is just a master teacher and a resident,” she says.

It’s a year-long process that requires the student-teacher to work with a more experienced one. The student-teacher is given a stipend and after a year, will be able to teach their own class in the same district.

Sarinana is asking for $5 million from the general fund so that every district across the state can have access to the program.

“They verbalize everything they’re doing, so not only the new teacher hears it, the kids hear it. It’s a great way to teach,” she says.

She knows finding teachers is only half the battle.

“As a teacher, you work in isolation a lot and we’ve had new teachers who lasted a week and we didn’t know they were struggling,” says Sarinana.

If the bill passes, Sarinana hopes this can be the start to hiring and keeping quality teachers within the state.

“It really makes you look at how you teach and what you do, and what’s working. I think it makes you a better teacher,” she says.

This program would also be a part of every student-teacher’s masters program. The legislative session starts in less than three weeks.

This program already is being tested in a number of Albuquerque Public Schools through a partnership with UNM. APS hopes the state will foot the bill because it costs the district about $500,000 a year to host 25 student-teachers.

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