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New Arizona law closes loophole for noncertified teachers accused of misconduct

School, education, teacher, student
Posted at 9:35 PM, Sep 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-29 00:35:03-04

PHOENIX — Starting Wednesday, state officials will have the power to investigate noncertified teachers and other employees accused of misconduct.

Under the current law, only certified teachers can have their license revoked or suspended.

However, the new law, HB2023, will make it possible for the state to discipline noncertified teachers and other employees including coaches and administrators.

As ABC15 previously reported, the state is seeing an increase in complaints regarding educators and is asking the governor's office for money to help handle those cases.

The new law also looks to close a loophole where a noncertified teacher can change schools without having a license or certification revoked or suspended.

Under the new law, a hiring manager should be able to look up a noncertified teacher to see if they've been disciplined by the state.

According to the Arizona Department of Education, there were 3,800 charter school teachers in 2018. Of those, 40 percent were not certified.

Officials with the Arizona Charter Schools Association said they support the new legislation because it makes schools safer.

"We were very supportive of the law. Student safety is always no. 1.," said Jake Logan, the group's president, and CEO.

"Having a database to be able to make sure that students are safe is critical and that's why we supported the legislation," he added.

In Arizona, a teacher does not have to be certified to get a job with a charter school.

"If Barack Obama wanted to teach government but wasn't a certified teacher, a charter school would have that choice," said Logan.

"So they get additional flexibility but that flexibility is balanced with additional accountability for their academics," he said.