Teaching Standards in Georgia

A shortage of educators in Georgia has led state officials to consider lowering the standards required to be a teacher. Under a new proposal, after getting a four-year degree, people could then get teaching certificates simply by passing a series of tests.

The Georgia Professional Standards Commission will vote in the morning whether or not to change certification procedures to help attract more teachers to the profession.

Teachers like Marguerite Maxwell, who has her master's and has been an educator for 32 years, are becoming few and far between in Georgia. State officials say the only way to bring the teachers back, is to lower the necessary standards.

"It kind of stinks, in a way, to know that I did all this work and they're going to walk in after two weeks and have the same job!" says Marguerite.

A shortage of educators in the state has caused the Georgia Professional Standards Commission to consider a bill that certifies people with their Bachelors Degree in other areas to head up a classroom after simply completing a few classes.

Educators say this would only be the latest in a series of certification changes they've been seeing. They say for example, it's much easier nowadays for out-of-state teachers to come work in GA than in previous years.

"There were sometimes as many as four to five courses that had to be taken to receive GA certification, and now that has been loosened down to one or two courses that need to be taken,” says Principal Tim Helms.

Many educators say they are in favor of other professionals sharing their expertise in the classroom, but a selective hiring process is a must! A four-year degree will still be required to teach in Georgia. The new teachers would be licensed for five years and would have to work with a mentor.

The bill would still have to be passed by the legislature. If it is, the changes will go into effect this summer.