Senate Passes Bill to Address Teacher Shortage by Improving Certification Process

HARRISBURG – Legislation sponsored by Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46) and Sen. Wayne Langerholc (R-35) in response to the teacher shortage facing the Commonwealth received unanimous support from the Senate today. It would simplify the process for out-of-state teachers to obtain certification in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 224 would allow an out-of-state candidate who has completed any state-approved educator preparation program (including field placement/student teaching) from an accredited institution of higher education to be eligible for a comparable in-state instructional certification.

The bill would also require the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to recognize and accept out-of-state candidates’ qualifying scores on equivalent content tests toward PDE’s testing and certification requirements.

Lastly, Senate Bill 224 would grant Pennsylvania certification to any candidate who holds a valid certificate issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, which is the most respected professional certification available in K-12 education.

“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, yet our schools are in dire need of experienced teachers,” Sen. Bartolotta said. “This bill would provide a pathway to permit new residents who have experience to fill that need.”

According to PDE, the number of newly issued in-state instructional teaching certificates has dropped by 66% since 2010.

“This legislation will encourage teachers to expand their professional careers into Pennsylvania at a time when educators are needed,” Sen. Langerholc said. “These changes will create a positive impact for our students and our communities.”

Senate Bill 224 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.


CONTACT: Colleen Greer, 717-787-1463

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