Educators in Arizona can begin teaching at public schools before earning college degree

Legislation will give public schools greater options in recruiting educators, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey says

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Educators in Arizona’s public school system will only need to be enrolled in college to begin teaching in a classroom after Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation last week meant to help these schools recruit future educators as the state continues to face a teacher shortage.

The legislation, S.B. 1159, will expand training pathways for future teachers and help give children a high-quality education, Ducey said in a written news release on Tuesday.

"For the past eight years, we have made it a priority to give our kids a high-quality education, and this legislation builds on those actions," Ducey said. "S.B. 1159 will ensure that more Arizonans have the opportunity to pursue a career in education and help get our kids caught up."

However, the change has sparked a mixed reaction among educators.

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Marisol Garcia, President of the Arizona Educators Association, told AZ Family that educators need to have some experience before teaching students in a classroom.

Arizona has faced a teacher shortage in recent years.

Arizona has faced a teacher shortage in recent years. (iStock)

"It’s going to allow people to do on the job training, and that’s where it’s scary," she said.

Phoenix teacher Christopher Ramsey told the news outlet that the new policy could work for the right person.

"It could work, obviously there’s no one size fits all plan," said Ramsey, adding that he taught for two years while enrolled in an accelerated master’s program.

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Teacher shortages in Arizona continued for the sixth straight year in 2021, FOX10 Phoenix reported, citing a survey by the Arizona School Personnel Administration Association. The survey found that teacher vacancies remained unfilled at a rate of 26%, and many teachers didn’t meet the state's standard certification requirements.