Legislation to improve the alternative teaching certification process was approved Monday by the Oklahoma House of Representatives and heads to the governor’s desk.
House Bill 3025, by state Rep. John Paul Jordan, would allow for additional entry points for those wishing to pursue a teaching certificate through the alternative certification process. The measure directs the state education department to develop a matrix or rubric by which an alternative certification candidate’s work experience would be evaluated and aligned with a specific certification area.
The measure would allow those candidates with a terminal degree to pursue an alternative certification as long as their degree aligned to an area of certification. All alternative certification candidates must pass the certification exams and pass a background check before being certified.
“These changes simply allow more people to pursue the alternative certification pathway in this time of crisis,” said Jordan, R-Yukon. “This bill was requested by the Teacher Shortage Task Force.”
Unfortunately, a national teacher shortage has hit Oklahoma especially hard, Jordan said.
“It seems reasonable that the individual’s work experience would align with a particular subject area and that he or she could expect to receive alternative certification after it is professionally examined and he or she passes all three certification tests and a background check,” Jordan said.
Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister praised the bill’s passage.
“We are grateful that the House of Representatives, by a wide margin, has passed House Bill 3025, which loosens restrictions for those who are pursuing an alternative pathway to teacher certification,” said Hofmeister. “At a time when our state is facing an unprecedented teacher shortage, this is an important step in opening the doors to those who are willing to step up to the plate to provide the most important element in student success – a vibrant, permanent teacher in every classroom. We applaud Representative Jordan for considering this recommendation from the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s Teacher Shortage Task Force and for his leadership in moving the bill forward.”
The legislation was approved on fourth reading and now heads to the governor’s desk.