State BOE modifies standards for teachers amid major shortage

During Tuesday’s Alabama State Board Of Education meeting, members debated changes to teacher certification requirements.

Board members were not interested in ending the current requirement to take the Praxis, a test all teachers in the State of Alabama must take in order to be certified, but they did make some changes.

The State School Board approved some changes that will make it easier for those who don’t pass the Praxis to continue toward a teaching career if they meet other requirements. Those requirements are a high GPA in a subject area or 100 hours of professional development.

If a test-taker scores within 1 point of passing, they can get certified if they have at least a 2.75 GPA in their subject area and pass the teacher performance assessment.

If they score within 1 point, pass the teacher assessment and graduated from an Alabama school with a GPA below 2.75, they can be given a temporary certificate for up to three years while they work toward a passing score.

Tuscaloosa City Schools Superintendent Mike Daria said the certification changes will address the critical teacher shortage.

Currently, Tuscaloosa City Schools has 40 vacancies for the school year that begins in August.

“Right now, we need things that can fill our classrooms for today,” Daria said. “So looking at things like the Praxis gives us some short-term relief. Now we have to find some long-term solutions. We need more people going into education.”

Livingston Long is a senior studying secondary math education at Athens State University who said he’s grateful for the new opportunity.

“I have now taken the Praxis eight times in the past year with my closest score being 159,” Long said. “That’s 1 point away from passing and obtaining a professional certification.”

Long told the School Board they have a chance to change the lives of college students across the state alongside the lives of school-aged children who would have more teachers to educate them.

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