Cepeda-Freytiz will lead rally to push passage of Educator Certification bill

The bill would support qualified non-citizens to pursue teaching careers in PA

READING, Aug. 15 – State Rep. Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz, D-Berks, today announced that she will lead a rally aimed at putting pressure on the state Senate to pass her bill, which would provide educator certification and employment for immigrants in the commonwealth.

Cepeda-Freytiz will be joined by state Sen. Judy Schwank and state Rep. Danilo Burgos, chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Latino Caucus, and other lawmakers, students, community leaders and public education advocates on at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 18th at Lauer's Park Elementary School, 251 N. 2nd St., Reading.

The bill (H.B. 1067) that was passed by the PA House on June 26 would allow 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 to teach in public schools in Pennsylvania.

Cepeda-Freytiz said passing the proposal would expand essential access to teacher certification and open opportunities for quality teachers who are non-US. citizens.

“We are experiencing an alarming shortage of teachers in our communities, and we know for certain that this can be fixed, that there is an effective way to get us out of this educational crisis. The wait for the Senate is aggravating and pointless,” Cepeda-Freytiz emphasized.

“We urge the Senate to be a part of the solution, to join forces with us. Students and the teachers are counting on them to get this bill to the finish line,” she added. 

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.

“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival 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.