|In the near future, I intend to introduce legislation that would change the unnecessarily burdensome certification requirements for vocational teachers. Currently, Pennsylvania requires 78 credits for CTE Licensure which drastically exceeds the requirements of many other states, making it difficult to recruit needed teachers in Pennsylvania.
Below are some significant points:
- 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.
- CTE teachers are 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pennsylvania loses many qualified candidates for needed positions because they simply are not willing to go through an 11 year, 78 credit process.
- The excessive number of credits required is costly to our schools because schools pay most of the cost of tuition for these credits.
This proposal, which is a companion to Representative Bloom’s proposal in the House, is quite simple and would actually save school districts money. The legislation would reduce the number of required credits to a more appropriate but competitive amount. We believe this change will maintain Pennsylvania’s high standards but would provide significant help to eliminate the shortage of qualified CTE teachers in Pennsylvania.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this important, cost-saving legislation.