Bill may reform teacher licenses

Legislation that would improve the alternative teaching certification process was approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Current law requires a candidate for alternative certification to have a college GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale before even being allowed to begin pursuit of an alternative certification degree.

House Bill 3025, by state Rep. John Paul Jordan, would remove the GPA requirement, but leave in place certification testing.

“Although the GPA standard seems like a reasonable threshold, it is arbitrary and people grow beyond the grades they received in undergraduate college,” said Jordan, R-Yukon. “This bill was requested by the Teacher Shortage Task Force. One thing that became clear in our discussions were that individuals with terminal degrees such as a J.D. or Ph.D. were not getting certified because of this requirement.”

A national teacher shortage has hit Oklahoma especially hard, Jordan said.

“It seems reasonable that the individual’s work experience would align with a particular subject area and that he or she could expect to receive alternative certification after it is professionally examined and he or she passes all three certification tests and a background check,” Jordan said.

Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister praised the bill’s passage.