By a vote of 46-1, the State Senate has approved legislation designed to attract mid-career professionals to teaching in Pennsylvania. The measure, which now goes to the House Education Committee, would create a streamlined process for those with expertise in key fields, such as science and mathematics, to earn a teaching certificate and bring their knowledge to the classroom.
The sponsor, Democratic Senator Andy Dinniman of Chester County, says if the Secretary of Education determines there is a statewide or regional shortage of teachers, then the Secretary would have the authority to issue the Residency Teaching Certificate.
Dinniman says one reason Pennsylvania did not win federal funds in the first round of the "Race to the Top" program is that the state does not have an alternative certification process. Pennsylvania applied June 1st for the 2nd round of federal grants along with 35 other states and the District of Columbia.
Dinniman says the idea is to tap the experience of business professionals for use in the classroom and a side benefit would be that it helps those professionals who have been downsized out of a job.
An applicant for the residency certification must have a bachelor’s degree in the subject area, along with at least five years of relevant work experience; or,a master’s degree in the subject area, along with at least two years of relevant work experience; or, a doctoral degree in the subject area.
The candidates must also complete a four-month program that focuses on instructional strategies, child development, emotional support, and assessment skills.