Wayne Langerholc mug 2019

State Sen. Wayne Langerholc Jr.

Legislation cosponsored by state Sen. Wayne Langerholc Jr., R-Richland Township, to aid with Pennsylvania’s teacher shortage has been introduced to the state senate.

Senate Bill 1325 proposes a simplification of the process for out-of-state teachers to receive their state certification and is also sponsored by state Sen. Camera Bartolotta, R-Washington.

Pennsylvania residents teaching in other states and individuals who’ve recently moved to Pennsylvania would be allowed to continue to pursue a teaching career because of this bill.

“At a time when schools are in dire need of experienced teachers, this legislation will provide a pathway to permit new commonwealth residents who have that experience to fill that need,” Langerholc said in a Tuesday release. 

Qualified individuals include those who have “completed any state-approved educator preparation program from an accredited institution of higher education.”

Those who have are then eligible for a “comparable in-state instructional certification.”

Anyone with a valid certificate issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards or has a qualifying score on similar content tests toward the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s certification requirements also would be eligible.

“The current teacher certification system creates a huge barrier for new state residents who want to share their talents and knowledge with the leaders of tomorrow,” Bartolotta said. “Breaking down these roadblocks will help more teachers come to Pennsylvania and create a positive impact on students and our communities in the long run.”

The number of newly issued in-state teaching certificates has dropped by 71% in the last 11 years, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. 

Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.

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