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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: October 29, 2019 09:30 AM
From: Representative Thomas P. Murt
To: All House members
Subject: Act 82 of 2018 change - Special Education Certificates
Last October, the General Assembly passed Act 82 of 2018, which among other provisions, created a new educator certificate in special education. Beginning on 12/31/21, the new special education certificate for grades pre-k-12 will be issued replacing the current certifications for special education grades pre-k-8 and special education grades 7-12. An individual holding special education-pre-k-8 and special education-7-12 level certificates will have the opportunity to expand the scope of their certificate to meet the grade levels of the new certification.

Prior to the adoption of Act 82, many of our Commonwealth’s institutions of higher education offered their students a four-year dual degree program in elementary education and special education-pre-k-8. However, Act 82’s new special education certification will require extra coursework to cover the expanded grade range. As a result, institutions of higher education will no longer be able to offer their students with this four year dual degree program. Unfortunately, Act 82 was passed in October of 2018, after the fall semester had begun and many students had already started working toward their dual major. Additionally, because the new certifications will be issued after 12/31/21, a student who began their dual degree program in the fall of 2018, will not be able to complete the program that they already started because the special education certification will change six months before they are due to graduate.

To rectify this issue, I soon plan to introduce legislation that would simply delay the implantation of the new Act 82 special education certification by one year to 12/31/22. This would give the students who began their dual major program in the fall of 2018, before Act 82 was signed into law, the appropriate time to complete their dual degree program and obtain their certifications.

Introduced as HB2046