HARRISBURG – Legislation introduced by Senators Camera Bartolotta (R-46) and Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35) this week would help address Pennsylvania’s teacher shortage by simplifying the process for out-of-state teachers to receive certification.
The legislation would allow Pennsylvania residents who are currently teaching in other states and new residents who have recently moved to Pennsylvania to continue to pursue a teaching career. An individual who has completed any state-approved educator preparation program from an accredited institution of higher education is eligible for a comparable in-state instructional certification. In addition, the bill would grant Pennsylvania certification to any candidate who holds a valid certificate issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards or has a qualifying score on equivalent content tests toward the Department of Education’s (PDE) testing and certification requirements.
The Senators said their bill would streamline Pennsylvania’s rigorous training standards for teachers to ensure students can continue to access quality instruction. According to PDE, the number of newly issued in-state instructional teaching certificates has dropped by 71 percent since 2009.
The dwindling number of certified teachers, coupled with challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, have raised new concerns about the ability of school districts to appropriately staff instructional positions for the current school year.
“The current teacher certification system creates a huge barrier for new state residents who want to share their talents and knowledge with the leaders of tomorrow,” Bartolotta said. “Breaking down these roadblocks will help more teachers come to Pennsylvania and create a positive impact on students and our communities in the long run.”
“At a time when schools are in dire need of experienced teachers,” said Langerholc, who serves as Chair of the Senate Education Committee, “this legislation will provide a pathway to permit new Commonwealth residents who have that experience to fill that need.”