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HARRISBURG, PA (April 24, 2023) — PSEA President Rich Askey today commended members of the Pennsylvania House Education Committee for approving legislation aimed at addressing the school staff shortage crisis in Pennsylvania by creating a new pathway for support professionals to earn teaching degrees.
The committee approved House Bill 141, which would create a “Grow Your Own” program to help paraprofessionals and other school support staff go back to college to earn their teaching credentials.
“The commonwealth is not producing enough teachers to meet demand, and, as a result, we risk not having enough caring, qualified adults in our school buildings to address the many challenges our students face,” Askey said. “‘Grow Your Own’ programs can really help to alleviate the school staff shortage crisis.”
Askey emphasized that “Grow Your Own” programs will create new pathways to the teaching profession and open the door to great teachers who might otherwise never make their way to a classroom.
“We need to find new ways to grow the education profession and meet the school staff shortage crisis we’re facing head on,” Askey said. “PSEA has made this a top priority, and we are very pleased that the House Education Committee is doing the same. We’re committed to working with legislators to find long-term solutions to this problem.”
At the heart of the school staffing crisis is a decline in the number of college graduates entering education professions, Askey said. Between the 2010-11 and 2021-22 school years, the number of Instructional I certificates issued in Pennsylvania declined by 73%, while the number of emergency permits rose by more than 200%.
An affiliate of the National Education Association, PSEA represents about 177,000 active and retired educators and school employees, student teachers, higher education staff, and health care workers in Pennsylvania.