2016 Teacher Certification Legislation
On February 29, 2016, the Arizona Senate passed Senate Bill (SB) 1313, a bill proposing changes to the current certification process. The authority to supervise and control the certification of teachers, administrators and other education professionals is vested in the State Board of Education (SBE). Traditionally, when the Legislature desires changes to certification requirements it passes legislation directing the SBE to adopt rules and prescribe requirements to address the desired changes.
All certificated personnel must hold a valid fingerprint clearance card. Additionally, there are 3 statutory requirements candidates for certification must meet before receiving a an Arizona teaching certificate:
- Demonstration of proficiency in the US and Arizona Constitutions,
- Pass proficiency examinations on professional knowledge and subject knowledge, and
- Complete a SBE approved Structured English Immersion (SEI) training.
SB1313 undermines the SBE authority to oversee teacher certification and lower the standards to obtain a certificate for certain groups of candidates.
What Teachers Say About SB1313
Beth Maloney, a Dysart Education Association member, past AZ Teacher of the Year, and member of the Governor's Classrooms First Initiative Council, wrote this article about the impact of SB1313 on teachers.
Letter from past Arizona Teachers of the Year and AEA members, John-David Bowman, Beth Maloney, Kristie Martorelli, and Nancie Lindblom sent to Arizona Senate urging them to support Arizona teachers by opposing Senate Bill 1313.
What Legislators Say About SB1313
Video clip of Senator Kavanagh's explanation for supporting SB1313 and teacher certification.
SB 1313 teachers; alternative certification application (Allen)
This bill allows school districts and charter schools who receive a letter grade of A or B (for 3 years) to apply to the SBE for the authority to certify their own teachers. The SBE must adopt rules and policies, which may not be more restrictive than current certification requirements. The bill links the certification to student achievement.
- The ability to provide an alternative teacher prep program already exists, if a district or charter could apply to become one.
- Linking certification to student achievement data is not a valid or reliable measure of teacher ability. NO research supports this assertion.
- Creates differing standards for same certificates by de-professionalizing teaching.
- Undermines the teaching profession and teachers who worked hard to reach the high expectations set by the SBE.
- Will eliminate the ability for Arizona teachers to receive reciprocity in other states as our certification process will no longer be comparable.
- This idea was fully discussed by the Governor’s Classrooms First Initiative Council, with public input from teachers and administrators. There was NO support for this concept from the education community and the Council discarded the idea.