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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 2, 2020 01:21 PM
From: Senator Camera Bartolotta and Sen. Wayne Langerholc, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Non-Resident Teacher Certification Reciprocity
In the near future, we plan to reintroduce legislation that will simplify the process for out-of-state teachers to obtain certification in Pennsylvania. This measure will be similar to Senate Bill 1325 from the previous legislative session.
Across the nation, schools are facing a teacher shortage, and Pennsylvania is no exception. Since 2009, the number of newly issued in-state instructional teaching certificates has dropped by 71%, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the shortage, and school leaders have expressed concern about their ability to appropriately staff instructional positions for the 2020-2021 school year and beyond.
Pennsylvania is known for having rigorous quality preparation and training standards for public school educators. These standards must be lauded and protected. Historically, our high teaching standards have made Pennsylvania-grown educators very marketable to neighboring states whose schools are also seeking to fill shortages with productive, effective candidates. At the same time, the Commonwealth’s current process for approving out-of-state educators presents unnecessary barriers for qualified candidates who are seeking to obtain a certificate to teach in Pennsylvania. One such barrier is the requirement that all out-of-state candidates must complete Pennsylvania-specific content tests in order to demonstrate subject matter competency in the applicable area of state certification.
Our legislation will remove existing barriers by allowing an out-of-state candidate who has completed any state-approved educator preparation program (which includes field placement/student teaching), from an accredited institution of higher education, to be eligible for a comparable in-state instructional certification. The bill will also require PDE to recognize and accept out-of-state candidates’ qualifying scores on equivalent content tests toward PDE’s testing and certification requirements. Further, the legislation 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.
Please consider cosponsoring this commonsense legislation which will maintain quality standards and attract qualified, out-of-state educators to teach in Pennsylvania.

Introduced as SB224