Legislators In The State Of Arizona Are Considering Additional Teacher Certification Options

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Changes to the teacher certification procedure in Arizona might soon be approved by the state legislature in order to alleviate a shortfall of classroom teachers.

It has already cleared the Senate and received first House approval on Monday following a heated debate. However, a small group of Democrats protested, arguing that this would exacerbate the teacher crisis by making it easier for those who aren’t prepared to teach. People who have worked in the private sector and have a “subject-matter certificate” will be able to teach in grades 6-12 under the new idea. As a result of the proposed idea, they may also instruct kindergarten through fifth-grade students. The House of Representatives has yet to vote on it.

When Gov. Doug Ducey endorsed Senate Bill 1042 five years ago, it permitted professionals with specialized knowledge to acquire a subject-matter certificate and teach in schools without having to go through the typical criteria for ordinary teaching certifications. To qualify for the position, persons who had a degree in their area of specialty or at least five years of experience in a related profession were obliged to do so under the legislation.

Some people objected to the law, claiming that it would weaken teaching standards and do little to address the concerns of school budget and teacher salaries. It was claimed that the measure will enable more competent instructors to enter the schools of the state. The Senate voted 16-12 in favor of the measure, and the House followed suit. In April 2017, Ducey signed a new contract. The extension of the state’s voucher program was one of the most contentious education laws at the time.

A subject matter expert credential is not acceptable for students in grades K–5, according to Chris Kotterman, a member of the Arizona School Boards Association.

According to Kotterman, even if they agree with some of the bill’s provisions, teaching primary school needs a wide variety of skills. When teaching a wide variety of topics to fourth graders, a scientist is more successful than when teaching chemistry to high students. Another problem is the amount of work instructors are expected to do compared to their pay.

“The fact that people aren’t choosing the education profession isn’t because they don’t want to go through the effort to get a certificate,” Kotterman said. “They’re not choosing the education profession cause it’s not an attractive profession. You don’t get paid very well and it’s hard.”

Arizona’s School Personnel Administrators Association president is Susan Lugo. You won’t be able to open a newspaper or magazine without reading about the Great Resignation, she said.

It is difficult to find teachers to fill positions in special education, as well as in math, science, and other subject areas for students in grades 6 through 8 and in high school, according to Lugo.

The lack of teachers in Arizona was clearly evident in January, according to the state’s latest employment figures. Since the start of the school year, approximately 2,000 teacher openings have been reported by the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association (ASPAA). Teachers who did not match Arizona’s qualification criteria filled almost half of the state’s open teaching positions, according to the study.