Arizona Public School Teachers No Longer Need A College Degree To Educate Kids

Educators in Arizona public schools will no longer require a college degree to be hired as teachers. Thanks to legislation signed by Governor Doug Ducey earlier this week, teachers only need to be enrolled in college to start teaching, requiring very little training and knowledge to run a classroom.

  1. Not everyone is a fan of the change. Needless to say, the idea that completely uneducated people could be hired to “teach” kids isn’t sitting well with many people. Jens Larson was hired as an “emergency certified teacher” who had a degree but not teaching credentials in particular. He worked for the Phoenix Union High School District for 14 years before leaving due to low pay and lack of respect and resources. He’s one person who’s definitely not a fan of the new measures. “The situation will be even worse if you’re dealing with either younger people or even less well-educated people,” he tells Arizona’s Family.
  2. Several education organizations fought the measure all along. The Arizona Educators Association, or AEA, said that SB 1159 would do major harm to the state’s students. “You have to have some experience. It’s going to allow people to do on the job training, and that’s where it’s scary,” said Marisol Garcia, the organization’s president.
  3. Some believe it could work for the “right person.” On the flip side, Phoenix teacher Christopher Ramsey says he was enrolled in school when he began teaching, so the plan isn’t totally flawed. “It could work, obviously there’s no one size fits all plan,” Ramsey said. “I’m a teacher, and I taught for two years while doing an accelerated master’s program, so I didn’t have my teacher’s degree.” However, this seems more of a rare exception than the norm.
  4. The governor believes the bill is ultimately pro-education. Kaitlin Harrier, the Senior Education Policy Advisor to the Governor, writes: “Signing this bill into law furthers Governor Ducey’s pro-education policies by giving schools the flexibility to establish their own locally designed school leadership preparation programs and will allow those without a bachelor’s degree to start training to become a teacher while also completing their degree. This flexibility will help strengthen the teacher talent pipeline, provide the opportunity for more Arizonans to become teachers, and allow for locally driven solutions.”

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill