NFFV Action Request

Upcoming Education Hearing

Monday, March 13, 2023

1:30 PM, Room 1525


LB724 Eliminate basic skill and test requirements

for teaching certificates

What does LB724 eliminate?

LB724 was put forth, in what appears to be an attempt, to address Nebraska's teacher shortage by reducing or eliminating proficiency requirements currently needed to obtain a teaching certificate.

Nebraska statutes 19-806 and 19-807 would, amongst other things, remove language that references the need to show proficiency in obtaining a teaching certificate. For example, the following language would be removed from 19-807 "Basic skills competency means either (a) proficiency in (i) the written use of the English language, (ii) reading, comprehending, and interpreting professional writing and other written materials, and (iii) working with fundamental mathematical computations as demonstrated by successful completion of an examination designated by the board or (b) successful employment experiences..."

What remains with LB724?

It may be worth noting, the following requirements would still be in affect with LB724; "Human relations training means course work or employment experiences that lead to (a) an awareness and understanding of the values, lifestyles, contributions, and history of a pluralistic society, (b) the ability to recognize and deal with dehumanizing biases, including, but not limited to, sexism, racism, prejudice, and discrimination, and an awareness of the impact such biases have on interpersonal relations, (c) the ability to translate knowledge of human relations into attitudes, skills, and techniques which result in favorable experiences for students, (d) the ability to recognize the ways in which dehumanizing biases may be reflected in instructional materials, (e) respect for human dignity and individual rights, and (f) the ability to relate effectively to other individuals and to groups in a pluralistic society other than the applicant's own;"

Where is the priority?

What should our K-12 schools be focused on? LB724 is prioritizing "favorable experiences for students" over showing competency in the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. LB724 wants to teach our educators in sexism, racism, prejudice, and discrimination but doesn't care to see if they have basic understanding of reading, writing, and arithmetic.

While everyone understands the need for Nebraska educators to treat "all students" with love, respect, and humility; should that be the only focus? When proficiency levels for Nebraska students are in decline, decreasing teacher proficiency is not the answer.

There are also concerns about what training in sexism, racism, prejudice, and discrimination actually is. Some of those concerns were discussed in the Minuteman alert on LB291.

The downward spiral?

As mentioned above, Nebraska schools performance continues to degrade, see charts below. People will point to the pandemic as the catalyst for the decline however the downward trend started before then (it started in 2015-2017 time frame). Others will say, at least Nebraska is above the national average. While being better than average might seem good, it's not when the whole average is in decline. Nebraska should always demand nothing less than continuous improvement. The reality is Nebraska's 8th grade reading scores in 2019 and 2022 were the lowest on the ten year chart! You can go to The Nations Report Card to see more charts or look at different states and grades.

Parents should demand more than "ok" educators. A few years back AT&T did some humorous commercial asking that specific question. You can check out one asking if having an ok doctor is really ok. Note; this is not an endorsement for AT&T.

The charts show our children only have basic proficiency in math and reading. Now we want to give them educators who are not proficient either. This will only lead to further erosion of student proficiency, and the downward spiral continues.

LB724 must be opposed.

How Can I help?

Take action, your voice is powerful make it heard. LB724 committee hearing is scheduled Monday, March 13, 2023.

How to be heard? Here are three ways:

  • Most EffectiveTestify in person. Going to the Committee hearing and sharing YOUR story with committee member Senators is very impactful. For first time in person testifier here are some helpful hints
  • Very EffectiveSubmit written testimony. If you can't be there in person then submit written testimony. Not sure how to do that, click hereNote; written testimony needs to be submitted by noon the business day before the committee hearing.
  • EffectiveEmail your position letter to the Committee Senators and CC your own Senator. For a listing of the Education Committee Senators click hereNote; emails need to be sent by noon the business day before the committee hearing. It's not likely these emails will be included in official hearing minutes though there is a better chance Committee Senators will see your comments. You can request they be added to meeting minutes in your email to Committee Senators.

Not sure what to say?

Listed below are thought starters. Build your story around one or two of them. Quantity is not as important as a short heart felt personal story.


Here are three arguments to oppose this bill on:

  • Eliminating proficiency testing of our educators will worsen Nebraska trend in declining student test scores.

  • Focusing solely on "favorable experiences for students" makes our educators nothing more than babysitters. Additionally, it sets students up for failure when they leave school for higher education or the working world.

  • There is no one reason for the teacher shortage in Nebraska or nationally. Proficiency testing is not near the top of any list. Eliminating or reducing proficiency requirements have been used as a band aid, usually with disastrously results for both students and teacher. Imagine trying to teach yourself calculus while teaching 30 students calculus. Here is a article that list 10 reasons for teacher shortages.
Board of Directors Team