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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Arizona: You can start teaching before you earn a degree

Arizona teachers won't need a bachelor's degree to launch their careers under a new law signed by Gov. Doug Ducey, reports Fox's Stephen Sorace. Novice teachers must be enrolled in college.

Public schools in the state have struggled to fill teaching vacancies for years, he writes. One survey found 26 percent of jobs are not filled by a certified teacher.

Would 19-year-olds be learning to teach on the job? I suspect districts that use the flexibility will be hiring aides as classroom teachers while they move toward a bachelor's degree. Many districts have programs to help aides, who tend to be "diverse," become teachers, but it takes a long time for someone working full-time to complete college.

Some Arizona districts are experimenting with team teaching. Arizona State's Next Education Workforce initiative is working with schools to create teaching teams that combine veterans and novices.

“We've created the need to have one person in a box with a group of students every single day," ASU's Brent Maddin told Rocio Hernandez of KJZZ. "I'm not convinced that it’s a) job that is sustainable for educators, or b) really good at delivering the truly deep and personalized learning that our students, especially our students with the greatest needs deserve.”

In Public Impact's Opportunity Culture model, which is used nationwide, master teachers lead multi-classroom teams, "extending the reach of excellent teachers." There's lots of opportunity for coaching, collaboration and shared lesson planning.

412 views3 comments


Jul 12, 2022

This isn't necessarily a terrible idea, as long as there's some structure to it. Teaching could be an excellent career field for career changers, but the barriers to entry are often extremely high and many individuals who could be excellent teachers are put off from it. It could be structured like a tradesman's apprenticeship or something, to allow for appropriate supervision, mentorship, and skills development, while cutting down on the required time in a college classroom that many states require, and which keeps many career changers away from teaching.

Jul 14, 2022
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Assuming it was paired with more experienced people, it could also help weed out those who shouldn't be teachers. I love sharing knowledge and meeting students where they are, but never managed the class room control issues. (always in a religious setting, I had picked up some training, though.)


Jul 12, 2022

Great illustration of why the law of supply/demand/price does not work in teaching. If a state has a shortage of teachers they can change the rules, thus increasing the potential supply.

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