|Please join me in sponsoring legislation proposing changes to the Public School Code to reform the teacher preparation and certification process for students aspiring to be teachers. I was recently contacted by a constituent who shared concerns about seemingly unnecessary requirements that are currently imposed on aspiring teachers. Upon consulting the PA Department of Education (PDE), they too shared the concerns of my constituent and identified several reforms that are student-friendly and cost-effective, while also protecting the important intent of teacher preparation and certification processes.
My legislation will specifically focus on the following reforms:
Thank you for your consideration of this legislation.
- Waive the basic skills test (currently required for all students prior to certification) for those students who already hold a Masters, Doctorate, or are enrolled in a post baccalaureate teacher preparation program.
- Provide reciprocity for post baccalaureate programs from applicants who received certification from a state with similar standards, in order to permit the approval of certification applicants who complete alternative certification programs out of the state.
- Require students to take the basic skills test prior to official entry into the teacher preparation program. Under current law, some students take the test after they have completed all coursework and paid significant costs for these credits, only to find out they are not eligible for certification because they cannot pass the tests.
- Provide students who attain a higher graduate degree (e.g. Masters) without receiving a baccalaureate first with the ability to be certified.
- Remove the requirement for a health assessment as part of the certification process, but retain the requirement as part of the employment process. Existing School Code provisions require an individual to submit two health assessments; one as part of the certification process managed by the state and one as part of the employment process managed by the Local Education Agency employing them. This duplicative process is an undue burden on individuals. This change will reduce the burden on individuals, reduce the processing time, but still ensure student safety.