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Governor Lowers Bar for Who Can Teach Arizona's Children

May 2, 2017 – With the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 1042, Governor Doug Ducey and Arizona’s legislative leadership continue their attack on teachers in Arizona and, effectively, embrace the teacher shortage crisis in our state.

SB1042 retroactively grants approval of poorly designed, for-profit alternative teacher preparation programs that do not adequately prepare teachers and were previously revoked by the Arizona Department of Education. Lowering the state’s professional teaching standards jeopardizes the teaching certificates of over 50,000 certified teachers in Arizona and reciprocity with other states. This legislation is unnecessary because Arizona already has effective alternative teacher pathways. SB1042 contributes to the teacher shortage and distracts from the real problem of low pay.

“The legislature and governor had an opportunity to address the teacher shortage crisis through increased compensation,” says Arizona Education Association (AEA) President Joe Thomas. “Instead, they chose to lower the standards of who can teach in a classroom. Effectively, they are embracing the teacher shortage crisis. It will remain with Arizona until our elected officials address compensation in a meaningful way.”

Several recent teacher surveys, including the ASU Morrison Institute, have found low pay to be the biggest factor in teachers deciding to leave the classroom. AEA and the AZ Schools Now coalition has put forth a proposal to the governor that would give teachers a four percent raise, but have received no response.

"The Governor’s plan invites people without any preparation and without any classroom experience to educate our children,” says Thomas. “We already have great teachers in the classroom who are succeeding with their students, despite being the lowest paid teachers nationally, and who are working with some of the largest class sizes in the nation. By signing this bill, the Governor is further burdening our teachers with the additional responsibility of training new, unprepared colleagues how to teach. All this does is set up a churn-and-burn model of low-wage teachers who will continue to leave after a few years, and our children will continue to suffer for the profit of adults."

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