States Easing Teacher Requirements In Desperate Attempt To Obtain More Teachers

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | Published

teaching certificates

Due to the teacher shortage, some states are easing requirements for educators to become certified. Throughout the nation, districts are scrambling to fill vacant teaching positions, but interest in the teaching profession has continued to wane among college students. By relaxing teaching certificate requirements, lawmakers hope that the easier pathway toward a career will encourage young adults to enter education programs. 

In January a National Education Association poll revealed that more than half of teachers are considering quitting their jobs or retiring early. This is mainly due to burnout and being forced to take on additional responsibilities due to staffing issues. The process of obtaining a teaching certificate can be rigorous in itself being that tests measuring general skills have been traditionally required.

In order to reduce the cost of teaching certificates and draw more young adults to the profession, numerous states are easing the requirements. Education Week and the Education Commission of the States studied these changes and found that at least 12 states have, or are considering changing the criteria for becoming a teacher. While this is being presented as a solution to an ever-growing problem, it does little to address the widening distrust between parents and teachers. 

In recent months parents have become aware of countless sexual assault and physical abuse charges filed against teachers. Many teachers have been abusing power and pressing their personal politics onto students. A great deal of hard-working, qualified teachers have quit due to the changing priorities of public schools, and until these issues are addressed and remedied, bringing in less qualified teachers who were more easily able to obtain teaching certificates unnerves some parents. 

Alabama is currently considering lowering the “standard of entry.” Meanwhile, California, Missouri, New Jersey, and Oklahoma have already approved such measures. Both California and Oklahoma removed exit test requirements, while Missouri has lowered the passing score. New Jersey has not removed testing requirements but has created a pilot program to allow educators with low GPAs to still acquire a limited teaching certificate.  

Whether removing tests or reducing the criteria needed to receive a teaching certificate will lead to more educators entering the profession is unclear. How the long-term effects of these measures will change the profession and student outcomes is also unknown, but many are concerned that it will allow less qualified individuals into classrooms and further degrade the already struggling public education system.

teaching certificates

Unfortunately offering more pay has not drawn more interest. Neither has giving teachers sign-on bonuses or bonuses for keeping attendance up. The teacher shortage has become such a crisis that state officials are willing to reduce teaching certificate standards. It is a sign of the times which signifies a drastic shift in the education system. 

For years now students seeking to become educators have been taught the importance of excelling to meet the proper teaching certificate requirements. Now that states are working to pass less qualified individuals, parents considering alternative education methods are more inclined to leave the public education system. For some time now there has been an emphasis placed on the importance of trusting children to knowledgeable teaching professionals. Lowering standards to enter the profession challenges that rhetoric.