Teaching without a degree in Arizona

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Arizona has been fighting an ongoing teacher shortage for six years now, with 1,966 job openings that need to be filled, according to the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association’s annual survey. At one point, there were 6,346 vacant positions for teacher jobs, but that number was soon filled by 4,996 “teachers” who do not meet standard teacher requirements.

78.7% of teacher positions either remain vacant or were filled by individuals not meeting standard teacher
requirements (using alternative methods), according to the survey.

A new bill signed by Gov. Doug Ducey in early July that allows anyone enrolled in college to teach in a classroom without a degree. The governor’s office says this allows schools the freedom to look for teachers to fill positions. However, the Arizona Education Association says this is not the way to go about the teacher shortage in Arizona.

“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.”

We spoke to Marisol Garcia, President of the Arizona Education Association, and Hugh Hallman, an attorney with Berry Riddell.

Marisol Garcia/President, Arizona Education Association & Hugh Hallman/Attorney, Berry Riddell

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