HARRISBURG – The State Senate has approved legislation sponsored by Senator Wayne Langerholc Jr. (R-35) that would assist recent teaching graduates who are attempting to navigate the state certification process, which was disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Langerholc, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, said the legislation is needed because teacher certification testing centers were closed during the health emergency.
In addition to enabling graduates to obtain certification, the additional flexibility will ensure schools are not faced with additional challenges in recruiting staff when reopening schools.
“It’s important for graduates to be able to obtain the certifications they need to become teaching professionals,” Langerholc said.
“Many recent graduates have been unable to take the next step in their careers through no fault of their own. By providing greater flexibility in these difficult times, we can ensure that they meet state requirements without undue hardship or delays.”
Senate Bill 1216 would assist teachers, recent graduates, undergraduate students and paraprofessionals when attempting to navigate the state required certification process by:
- Allowing the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to issue a temporary certificate to individuals that have completed all of their teacher preparation requirements except their final assessment (i.e. praxis).
- Allowing PDE to issue an exceptional case permit for current educators who are unable to take their assessment to move from an Instructional I certificate to an Instructional II certificate.
- Allowing PDE to issue a temporary certificate under limited circumstances for individuals who were seeking to add on a certification (physical education/health, cooperative education and special education are exempted). Individuals will have to provide proof to PDE that their assessment was cancelled.
- Waiving requirement for undergraduate sophomores to take the basic skills exam. This test is required for teacher preparation programs.
- Extending the deadline for paraprofessionals to satisfy staff development requirements.
Langerholc said the flexible provisions would expire June 30, 2021.