Big Win in Harrisburg: Creating the Teacher Diversity Pipeline
Pennsylvania has a problem.
A decade ago, the commonwealth certified 20,000 new teachers.
Last year, that number was down to just 6,000.
However, we recently enacted some important, bipartisan legislation to address that problem and others surrounding teacher recruitment and diversity.
Just last week, I joined Governor Wolf and Sharif El-Mekki of the Center for Black Educator Development to celebrate the inclusion of my Senate Bill 99 in the 2022-2023 budget package. State Senator Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) and I worked very hard on that legislation.
It connects more high school students, especially students of color, to a post-secondary career in teaching with more dual enrollment opportunities for all public-school students.
This will create more partnerships between high schools and colleges – both four-year institutions and community colleges.
It also establishes a pathway for the creation of career and technical education programs in the education field, allowing high schools to create a specialized program in education.
The legislation gets rid of one of the testing requirements to enter into a teacher preparation program. That has been a barrier to getting more diverse candidates into the teacher pipeline.
As we’ve seen in other states, like Mississippi, removing that requirement has proven to be very successful in recruiting teachers of color.
The Department of Education is also now keeping more detailed track of who is becoming a teacher, which will help my colleagues and me as we craft more policies to target and support teacher recruitment and retention.
This is a major step toward strengthening our education workforce for years to come, and we are just getting started.
To read more about the historic investments my colleagues and I have made in education, check out these links: