House Committee Passes Bill to Address Teacher Shortage by Improving Certification Process

HARRISBURG – In response to the impact Pennsylvania’s teacher shortage has on students, Sens. Camera Bartolotta (R-46) and Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35) sponsored legislation to simplify the process for out-of-state teachers to obtain certification in the commonwealth. It received unanimous support from the House Education Committee today.

Senate Bill 224 would allow an out-of-state candidate who has completed any state-approved educator preparation program from an accredited institution of higher education, including field placement/student teaching, 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.

“Schools continue to face teacher shortages that affect students and their learning, but there are plenty of new state residents who are experienced and would like to help fill the gaps,” Bartolotta said. “We need to put trained and effective teachers in our classrooms as soon as we can, and my bill would help to make that happen by removing the considerable barrier that currently exists.”

“At a time when schools are in dire need of experienced teachers, this legislation will provide a pathway to permit new Commonwealth residents who have that experience to fill that need,” Langerholc said.

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

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

 

CONTACT:    Colleen Greer (Sen. Bartolotta’s office), 717-787-1463

                        Gwenn Dando (Sen. Langerholc’s office), 717-787-5400