Nebraska teachers no longer required by state to take skills test

The PRAXIS exam requirement has been dropped for prospective Nebraska teachers.
Published: May. 16, 2023 at 4:43 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - Nebraska is now one of 34 states to not require a skills test for teachers.

Tuesday, Gov. Jim Pillen signed the repeal of 92 NAC 23, which required teachers to demonstrate basic skills. With the repeal, teachers will no longer be required by the State of Nebraska to take a competency test as defined in Neb. Rev. Stat. §79-807.

Nebraska used the Praxis Core basic skills test as the 92 NAC 23 requirement. Teachers had to pass the test if they wanted to teach in the state.

The repeal will take effect five days after being received by the Secretary of State’s office.

Gov. Pillen claims the repeal will help attract teachers to the state.

“This rule change removes one of the barriers to attracting new teachers and getting them into our classrooms right away,” said Pillen. “Nebraska needs more teachers, and this cutting of educational red tape is a step in the right direction.”

Dr. Deborah Frison, the Nebraska Department of Education’s Deputy Commissioner for School Improvement and Support, also supported the repeal.

“National research shows no correlation between performance on a basic skills competency test and teacher performance,” said Dr. Frison. “Furthermore, the basic skills assessment was a single, high-stakes assessment, which was costly and not helpful for budding professionals who demonstrated their competence in college at multiple points.”

The repeal removes the state requirement for taking the test. Individual school districts can still require the Praxis as part of their hiring and evaluation standards.

While officials are touting the repeal of 92 NAC 23, in the past, experts have said there are several other issues contributing to the teacher shortage.

Last year, leaders with the Nebraska State Educators Association were in the nation’s capital working on the issue of teacher shortages.

Previously, Council Bluffs has addressed the issue of teacher shortages by offering mentoring and incentives to keep teachers on staff.

Removing the Praxis requirement isn’t the first step Nebraska legislators have taken to combat teacher shortages. Last year, a bill was proposed to give student teachers loan forgiveness.