Potential Changes to Teacher Certification Paths

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Sanaya Gupta

SB-1159 is a bill that aims to combat the teacher shortage in Arizona. This bill will allow people, who have experience in a certain field, to teach that subject at schools, despite the fact  they do not have the proper training to be a teacher. They would get a Subject Matter Expert teaching certificate and could teach in grades K-5 if the bill is passed. A bill similar to this was passed in 2017 called SB-1042. However, the bill was designed for students in grades 6-12. Both SB-1159 and SB-1042 have the same goal, but SB-1159 will allow new teacher certification paths for teachers to teach all grades (K-12). 

SB-1159 is sponsored by Senator Rick Gray (R-Peoria). Many Republican lawmakers support this bill. They say it will be a step in the right direction in fixing the teacher shortage. 

Democrats disagree saying that teachers deserve better pay. They explain that with better pay will come more people willing to teach. On April 11, 2022, Arizona House Democrats tweeted, “AZ does not have a shortage of certified teachers. We have 150k who have moved on to other professions because of low pay, crowded classrooms and eroding respect for the profession. With a $5 billion surplus, we can do better.”