AZ Reforms Teacher Certification, Empowering Principals​

News Release

May 2, 2017

PHOENIX — Arizona school principals are now empowered to make the hiring decisions for their school, under legislation signed today by Governor Doug Ducey. Senate Bill 1042 allows highly-qualified professionals who have significant experience in a subject matter, possess a higher education degree, and have passed a background check to be certified to teach. The governor highlighted the issue earlier this year during his State of the State address and has made it a priority to reform Arizona’s outdated teacher certification process.

“Today’s legislation is a win for schools, teachers, and students,” said Governor Ducey. “No longer will an outdated process keep qualified, dedicated individuals out of the classroom. Instead, principals will now be empowered to make hiring decisions and attract the best individuals to serve our students. I thank Senator Allen for introducing this legislation to improve our schools and benefit Arizona students, and Representative Carter for her hard work as well.”

Currently, Arizona allows experts in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields to become teachers through a Specialized Teacher Certificate. Senate Bill 1042 expands this program to experts in other subject matters who have a higher education degree, have taught a relevant course for at least the past two years, and have at least five years experience working in a relevant field.

In his 2017 State of the State address, Governor Ducey called for fixing Arizona’s teacher certification process, stating:

"Sandra Day O’Connor is one of our nation’s most honorable citizens. She once served in this legislature, the first woman Majority Leader, in fact, in the entire country. The first woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court. She’s taught and lectured in law schools. There’s actually a law school named after her. And a federal court house—right down this street.

But after her retirement in 2005, if she had wanted to teach civics in an Arizona high school classroom, she would have been deemed unqualified by the system. That’s crazy. I’m talking about the teacher certification process. And it’s time to fix it.