Pennsylvania, like many states, is experiencing a teacher shortage. I agree with the Wolf administration that the shortage poses a threat to our future and appreciate the work they’ve done on this issue. However, I believe the strategic plan to recruit teachers should include pushing the state Legislature to allow Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival recipients, or Dreamers, to become certified in Pennsylvania. The plan released by the Pennsylvania Department of Education presented five areas of focus and touts language added to the school code that would ease certification requirements of teachers from other states. It also highlights record increases in education spending. Both are laudable, but I struggle with valuing individuals from outside Pennsylvania over Dreamers who have lived here for nearly their entire lives.
Letting Dreamers teach would be the most effective way to ease the teacher shortage and would improve Pennsylvania’s poor teacher diversity numbers, which countless studies have shown lead to better educational outcomes for Black and brown students.
Many Dreamers are educated at our public schools and our state-owned universities. We’ve already invested in these students. If they wish to return to their communities and help educate future generations, Pennsylvania shouldn’t stand in their way.
SB 165 would let Dreamers teach in Pennsylvania. This change to Pennsylvania’s teacher certification process should be part of our collective efforts to ease the teacher shortage. I ask that readers concerned about the shortage contact their state legislators and urge them to support this important bill.
Sen. Judy Schwank
11th Senatorial District
Source: Berkshire mont