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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 30, 2017 02:00 PM
From: Representative Stephen Bloom
To: All House members
Subject: Reform of Career and Technical Education (CTE) Teacher Certification Requirements

In the near future, I will be introducing legislation that would change the unnecessarily burdensome certification requirements for vocational teachers. Currently, Pennsylvania requires 78 credits for CTE Licensure. This drastically exceeds the requirements of many other states, which makes it difficult to recruit needed teachers in Pennsylvania.

Below are some significant points:
  1. CTE teachers are required to have industry experience prior to teaching. This is a good requirement because it assures our students are being trained by those who are qualified.
  2. This is different than traditional teachers, who go to school first before becoming a teacher. CTE teachers go to school AFTER becoming a teacher. As they are already content experts, the college courses are meant to help them utilize proper teaching strategies.
  3. The number of credits a CTE teacher must take after being hired is 78 credits over 11 years. This includes some general education credits, which are entirely unnecessary. For example, it is hard to rationalize the benefit to students of a Diesel Instructor being required to take a course in American History.
  4. The mere fact that these credits are spread over 11 years points to their lack of necessity. If something was actually important for the teachers and we waited 10 years to deliver it to them, we would be negligent as school administrators yet this is how the PDE certification process is arranged.
  5. Pennsylvania loses many qualified candidates for needed positions because they simply are not willing to go through an 11 year, 78 credit process.
  6. The excessive number of credits required is costly to our schools because schools pay most of the cost of tuition for these credits.
My legislation to solve this issue is quite simple and would actually save school districts money. My legislation would remove the 38 credits of General Education/Elective credits required in years 4-11. This would reduce the number of required credits from 78 to 40, which is still very rigorous but would provide significant help to eliminate the shortage of qualified CTE teachers in Pennsylvania.

Please join me in sponsoring this important, cost-saving legislation.