Rozzi legislation addressing statewide teacher shortage passes the House

HARRISBURG, May 2 – State Rep. Mark Rozzi’s bill to address Pennsylvania’s teacher shortage while simultaneously strengthening accessibility to earning an education degree passed the House today with a vote of 119-81.

House Bill 688 would establish the Teacher Pipeline Scholarship Program. This program would grant scholarships of up to $8,000 per year ($32,000 in total) to Pennsylvania students in a primary or secondary education program or in a student teaching role. Students at either a Pennsylvania State System or state-related school, independent college or university, or community college would be eligible for a scholarship.

Rozzi said that this bill is in response to Pennsylvania’s teacher shortage. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the commonwealth currently has more teachers on emergency permits than newly certified teachers.

"Pennsylvania’s persistent teacher shortage threatens the stability of our education system and deprives children of receiving a quality education – a right guaranteed in our state constitution,” Rozzi said. “We must prioritize recruiting and retaining talented teachers to ensure that children throughout Pennsylvania can thrive and reach their full potential."

In addition to relieving the financial burden of earning an education degree, H.B. 688 would ensure that talented teachers stay in the state and benefit Pennsylvania children. After graduating, scholarship recipients would have to meet two requirements, or they would have to reimburse the commonwealth for their scholarship.

  • They would have to commence teaching in Pennsylvania within one year of graduating. This could be at any public school, which includes intermediate units; career and technical education centers; or charter or cyber charter schools.
  • They would have to teach in Pennsylvania for one year for each academic year for which they received a Teacher Pipeline Scholarship.

“Educators are among the most qualified and credentialed professionals, yet they are also deeply burdened with loans stemming from higher education. We need to establish stronger incentives to attract professionals to the field and keep quality teachers here in Pennsylvania,” Rozzi said. “This financial assistance to our future teachers will help rebuild the educator pipeline. I sincerely thank my colleagues for their support and passing this important piece of legislation.”

Next, H.B. 688 will head to the Senate.