OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Rhonda Baker (R-Yukon) on Tuesday passed a bill in the House that provides an alternative pathway for early childhood and elementary education teacher certification candidates.
House Bill 3434 allows candidates to enter the classroom on a one-year provisional certificate that is renewable for up to three years while they complete required coursework and participate in a strong mentorship program prior to taking certification exams.
The bill passed with a vote of 92-3.
“This will significantly lower the need for emergency teachers in elementary and early childhood education in our public schools,” Baker said. “It will allow those who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher who are seeking to work in our classrooms to gain the support they need to be successful in passing their certification tests.”
Baker said currently, those seeking this certification have to pass all three certification tests before they are given any coursework. HB 3434 would allow these candidates to complete the coursework first, to take part in mentorships, and to be provided with professional development and reading and math curriculums before they take their certification tests. This will lead to greater passage rates, she said.
These teaching candidates also would have yearly coursework requirements that ensure they are gaining the professional knowledge in reading and math instruction, classroom management and child development, knowledge and skills essential for impacting student growth/learning.
“The lawmakers with whom I serve look for value in education, and we are solution driven.” Baker said. “That is what this bill does. It provides a solution for these candidates and for our schools.”
Baker said House Bill 3434 was the result of negotiations between the Oklahoma Office of Educational Quality and Accountability, the Oklahoma State Department of Education, Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education, the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration and the Oklahoma Education Association. She said all of these groups supported the bill.
HB 3434 was co-authored in the House by State Reps. Sherrie Conley (R-Newcastle), Dean Davis (R-Broken Arrow), Brian Hill (R-Mustang) and Daniel Pae (R-Lawton).
The bill now heads to the state Senate where Sen. Brenda Stanley (R-Midwest City) is the Senate author.