Some lawmakers want to lower qualifications needed to enter a classroom

Posted at 6:07 PM, Apr 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-27 23:28:28-04

Trying to ease Arizona's teacher shortage, some lawmakers are trying to lower qualifications needed to enter a classroom.

A bill sitting on the governor's desk, SB 1042, allows people to earn teaching certificates for a subject if they earned a degree in that field, taught it at the college level, or have years of job experience. These citizen-teachers would have to get additional training and prove their classroom success.

The bill just passed both houses of the legislature.

"This, I think, will bring new blood and energy into our schools," said State Rep. Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake), the bill's sponsor. 

"I've had people say to me, 'I've gotten through college, and I thought maybe I want to teach; when I found out I'd have to go back two more years, I just didn't do it,'" Allen said.

Opponents to SB 1042 say kids' education may suffer because non-degree teachers don't know about classroom management, learning styles and brain development.

Marisol Garcia, an 8th grade teacher and vice president of the Arizona Education Association, questioned the motivation of applicants without teaching backgrounds, saying they could be "people just needing a job in the meantime, or really aren't happy in their current job."

"Those are not the people I want teaching my son," Garcia said.