Teacher Shortage: Pennsylvania Bill Facilitates Statewide Access to Classroom Teachers | The state

(Central Square) – The shortage of teachers in Pennsylvania is prompting the General Assembly to adopt reforms and simplify the certification process for educators.

The proposed bill, SB224, will facilitate certification of teachers outside the state to teach in Pennsylvania. Until a teacher completes a state-approved program of study elsewhere, he or she will be eligible for comparable certification in Pennsylvania. This would involve reciprocity with other states, which would make it easier for teachers moving to Pennsylvania to start teaching.

“Schools still face a shortage of teachers that affects students and their learning, but there are many new residents who have experience and want to help fill in the gaps,” said Senator Camera Bartalotta, Washington, who sponsored the bill. “We need to bring trained and effective teachers to our classes as soon as possible, and my bill will help do that by removing the significant barrier that currently exists.”

The number of teachers who have passed the certification in recent years has fallen sharply. The Pennsylvania Department of Education has reduced the number of certificates of education issued by 66% since 2010.

The bill was passed by the Senate in October and received unanimous support in the House Education Committee.

He also has the support of the Pennsylvania Education Association.

“We believe this is a smart decision that will help attract qualified teachers from other states to Pennsylvania classes and address the growing shortage of teachers in the state,” said Chris Lilienthal, PSEA’s assistant communications director. “We appreciate Senator Bartolota’s work on his introduction and the broad support he has received in the legislature so far.”

Laws on reciprocity of teacher certification are widespread. Eight states have full reciprocity for teachers with any experience, according to The State Education Commission as well as the 37 states and the District of Columbia are removing some barriers for experienced teachers.

“At a time when schools are in dire need of experienced teachers, this law will enable new Commonwealth residents who have that experience to meet that need,” said Sen. Wayne Langerhall, R-Clearfield.

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