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House passes bill authorizing 2-year emergency teaching certificates

Brandon Moseley

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Tuesday, the Alabama House of Representative passed legislation that would allow the state school superintendent at the request of a local superintendent to issue a two-year emergency alternative teaching certificate.

House Bill 502 is sponsored by state Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield.

Estes said that the emergency certificate could be renewed for a total of four years.

Estes said that in the introduced version of the bill the superintendent could renew the emergency certificate twice for a total of six years, but higher education expressed concerns that that would be devaluing the teacher certificate.

Estes said school superintendents support the bill because of the growing teacher shortage, particularly in rural areas.

Under current law, superintendents can only issue a one-year emergency certificate.

The emergency teacher would have to have a four-year college degree. The alternative candidate must also have: “at least 32 semester hours credit, 19 of which must shall be upper division level, have been earned in the field for which certification is sought” or “An earned bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education with a non-education major in the academic area for which certification is sought” or “A passing score on the appropriate Praxis II content test of the Alabama Prospective Teacher Testing Program.

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The school system is to provide the alternative teacher a mentor.

The teacher is to use the time to get the necessary coursework to meet the qualifications for a regular certificate.

Many systems have to put a teacher’s aide with only a two-year degree in the classroom to fill vacancies while they search for a qualified teacher. In many cases, systems can find a teacher; but not one with the certificate to teach the position they are hired for.

The state Senate has passed a four percent pay increase for teachers to try to lure more qualified people to the field.

HB502 passed the House 100 to 0.

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