ND school super should be teacher, proposal saysLegislative Democrats are proposing a constitutional amendment that would require North Dakota's superintendent of public instruction to be a licensed teacher.
Legislative Democrats are proposing a constitutional amendment that would require North Dakota's superintendent of public instruction to be a licensed teacher.
The requirement was part of North Dakota law for more than a century before the Legislature repealed it two years ago, prodded by Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem's conclusion that it was unconstitutional.
"It is the people who elect their superintendent of public instruction," Rep. Lee Myxter, D-Fargo, said Monday. "It's the people who should decide whether that person should be a certified teacher."
Aside from changing the phrase "a person" to "an individual" in two places, the proposed amendment consists of a single sentence, which would be added to Article 5, Section 4 of the North Dakota Constitution.
It reads: "The superintendent of public instruction must be licensed to teach in this state on the day of the election."
Although Republicans successfully pushed for elimination of the requirement, the GOP was unable to recruit a candidate to oppose incumbent Wayne Sanstead last year.
Sanstead instead was challenged by another Democrat, Max Laird, and won his seventh term with 55 percent of the vote. Sanstead, who holds a doctorate in education, already meets the requirement that the constitutional amendment would impose.
After the 2007 Legislature repealed the requirement, its supporters circulated initiative petitions to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot last year. But they were unable to gather the needed signatures.
The Legislature can put proposed constitutional amendments directly to a statewide vote if they are approved by both the House and Senate. If put on the ballot and approved by voters, the proposed amendment would take effect Nov. 6, 2012, when Sanstead's current term expires.