In a desperate attempt to fill vacant positions, Alabama teachers can now pass certification tests with a lower passing grade point.
Not a single state in the country is immune to the expressed teacher shortage. All across the nation, schools are struggling to fill vacant positions. As districts iterate this alarming situation with education officials, policymakers are swiftly acting to update laws and regulations in a desperate attempt to attract and allow more individuals to teach inside the classroom. It may not be the best practice, and it may only serve in the long run to further the learning loss felt throughout public schools. But nonetheless, something needs to be done, and in Alabama, teachers are now allowed to pass accreditation requirements with a lower score.
US News reports that Alabama state school board officials recently passed a measure to lower the threshold on what individuals must score on educator certification tests. It is only being done so temporarily, but the hope is that it will in turn place more warm bodies inside of public school classrooms. It may mean that educators who may not necessarily be ready to teach yet will not be running classes, but as the saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures, and Alabama teachers are hard to find this year.
The teacher shortage is affecting Alabama differently, depending on geographical location. According to Fox10 News, some rural districts are especially struggling to fill vacant Alabama teacher positions. The state’s Education Superintendent, Eric Mackey, cited this, saying that superintendents from these areas are expressing that they don’t even have a pool of applicants to fill from. They are receiving absolutely no interested parties.
Additionally, Mackey feels that the standards for passing the Alabama teacher certifications may have already been set too high in the first place. The state uses Praxis to test upcoming teachers. They are scored based on their proficiency and ability to master the school subjects they are vying to teach. Mackey is hopeful that recent individuals who may have just missed passing the tests will now come back and take them again.
Some educators were on board with the idea, noting that the effectiveness and abilities of Alabama teachers can’t be completely measured based on one test. Some teachers even discussed how it took them a few attempts before they were able to pass the test. However, not everyone agreed that lowering standards was a good idea. Some parents voiced concerns about the measure. It was alarming to some, given the fact that many kids are struggling even more than usual to make up for learning loss from the pandemic.
The waiver lowering these standards for potential Alabama teachers will remain in effect for two years. This measure is on top of other efforts the state has already passed to attract more individuals to the field of teaching. Earlier this year, the state passed historic salary increases for educators. However, only time will now tell whether or not these endeavors pay off. Schools go back into session at the beginning of August, which leaves districts with just a few weeks to scramble and fill vacant slots.