Pennsylvania: Out-Of-State Teachers Will Be Able To Teach In Schools, Bill Signed To Address Teacher Shortage

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Reforms and simplified certification procedures for teachers are being pushed through by Pennsylvania’s General Assembly because of a scarcity of teachers.

To make it easier for out-of-state instructors to teach in Pennsylvania, a new measure, SB224, is being crafted. In Pennsylvania, a teacher who has finished a state-approved teaching program in another state would be eligible for a certification that is equivalent. A reciprocal agreement with other states would make it simpler for instructors who relocate to Pennsylvania to begin teaching.  “Schools continue to face teacher shortages that affect students and their learning, but there are plenty of new state residents who are experienced and would like to help fill the gaps,” said Sen. Camera Bartolotta, R-Washington, the bill’s sponsor. “We need to put trained and effective teachers in our classrooms as soon as we can, and my bill would help to make that happen by removing the considerable barrier that currently exists.”

In recent years, the number of instructors who have been certified has decreased significantly. There has been a 66% decrease in instructional teaching certifications given by the Pennsylvania State Department of Education since 2010.  Legislation was approved by both chambers of Congress in October, with backing from the House Education Committee.  The Pennsylvania State Education Association also supports it.  “We believe it is a common-sense solution that will help attract qualified out-of-state teachers to Pennsylvania classrooms and address the state’s growing teacher shortage,” said Chris Lilienthal, assistant director of communications for PSEA. “We appreciate the work of Sen. Bartolotta in introducing it and the broad support it has received in the Legislature so far.”

A lot of states have reciprocity regulations when it comes to getting your teaching credential renewed. As reported by the Education Commission of the Jurisdictions, only eight states provide complete reciprocity to all teachers, regardless of their level of experience, whereas 37 states and the District of Columbia waive some of these restrictions for more seasoned professionals.  As the demand for teachers grows, “this legislation will provide a path to new commonwealth residents who have that experience to fill that need,” said Sen. Wayne Langerholc, R-Clearfield, who introduced the bill.