Cepeda-Freytiz praises passage of bill that would lessen teacher shortages

The bill would help qualified non-citizens to pursue teaching careers in the state

HARRISBURG, June 26 – State Rep. Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz, D-Berks, today praised House passage of her bill, which would provide educator certification and employment for immigrants in Pennsylvania.

The bill (H.B. 1067), now on its way to the Senate for consideration, would amend the qualifications of a teacher by adding that department-certified or permitted teachers who hold a valid immigrant visa, work visa, or valid employment authorization document which allows them to work in the United States are eligible to teach in the public schools of the Commonwealth.

Cepeda-Freytiz said enactment of this bill would expand much-needed access to teacher certification.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Teacher Information Management System prevents non-U.S. citizens from completing an application for certification unless they are applying for a certificate to teach a foreign language or hold an immigrant visa (Green Card) and sign an affidavit of intent to become a U.S citizen.

“Education is the foundation of progress. We need a commonsense approach that can help us put Pennsylvania back on track. I am proud to champion this issue and I cannot wait until this bill is signed into law,” Cepeda-Freytiz said.

“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) participants are unable to attain educator certification in Pennsylvania. The removal of this barrier could help the Commonwealth address its teacher shortage areas, including one of the worst shortages of racially diverse educators in the country,” she added.

Some of the subjects with the greatest teacher shortages in the state are English as a Second Language, special education, and STEM.