Governor Ducey Signs Legislation To Expand Training Pathways For Future Educators

News Release

July 5, 2022

PHOENIX Governor Doug Ducey today signed legislation that will give public schools greater options in recruiting teachers, principals and other educational leaders.

“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,” said Governor Ducey. “S.B. 1159 will ensure that more Arizonans have the opportunity to pursue a career in education and help get our kids caught up. Arizona families know the importance of this effort — teachers are critical to our kids’ success today and well into their future.” 

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Rick Gray of Sun City, will allow those without a bachelor’s degree to start training to become a teacher and complete their training while also finishing their degree. Additionally, it provides greater flexibility for educators with expired licenses to renew their license and get back into the classroom more easily.

“There is an urgent need for teachers in Arizona,” said Senator Gray. “I am proud to have sponsored this bill to open the door to future educators and prepare them to be in the classroom. Thank you Governor Ducey for signing this important piece of legislation.”

Governor Ducey led the charge in 2017 to ensure Arizona had a recruiting system in place that would allow K-12 schools to easily find and hire quality teachers. 

“Five years ago, Arizona boldly reformed an antiquated teacher certification system to ensure that K-12 schools could recruit and hire excellent talent without unnecessary red tape barriers,” said Emily Anne Gullickson, president of Great Leaders, Strong Schools. “Senate Bill 1159 will expand on this success and create additional pathways to ensure Arizona schools can find and grow the best talent for our students.”

Over 3,000 individuals have taken advantage of the Subject Matter Expert teaching pathway and multiple school districts launched model grow-your-own programs. This legislation authorizes school districts and public charter schools to be able to establish their own locally designed school leadership preparation program for principals, assistant principals, supervisors, or other school-level leaders.

"It is difficult to recruit in a border community and for our model which is dual language, it’s even more difficult,” said Luis A. Perales, a school leader at Mexicayotl Academy of Excellence. “We want our teachers to be academically prepared, and know the fundamentals of teaching and classroom management. But we teach with very specific techniques and classroom management styles that are beyond fundamentals. Having more certification pathways will help us train and develop leadership positions internally, and create high quality pathways for former students and community members who want to enter the classroom.”

“As a principal and parent, I am incredibly excited about the passing of SB1159,” said Tonya Strozier, principal of Holladay Fine Arts Magnet Elementary School in the Tucson Unified School District. “A great opportunity is being forged and options are being provided. This bill will provide options that can and should diversify the teacher and school leader talent pipeline. The times we currently live in demand innovation, S.B. 1159 is sure to do just that. What an incredible win for students that have traditionally been on the perimeter. Thank you to all who played a part in championing this bill.”

The governor also signed H.B. 2551, which allows for one year continuous eligibility for Kidscare members and H.B. 2622, which simplifies the Young Adult Transitional Insurance program to ensure that children who age out of the foster care system but are still under the age of 26 do not lose coverage.

BACKGROUND

In January of this year, Governor Ducey worked closely with the Arizona State Board of Education to get much-needed substitute teachers in the classroom.

In May 2018, Governor Ducey signed into law the 20x2020 plan, which provided $306 million in funding for a 10 percent increase in teacher pay in the 2018 school year, $470 million in 2019 and $645 million in 2020. The 20x2020 plan resulted in over $1 billion in additional ongoing dollars intended to directly increase teacher pay by 20 percent by school-year 2020.

In May 2017, the Arizona Teachers Academy was created to allow students who commit to teaching in an Arizona public school to graduate from college debt-free. Since the Arizona Teachers Academy’s inception in 2017, more than 2,032 students have completed an academy program.

In May 2017, the governor signed Senate Bill 1042 which 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.

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