Bill Exempts Teaching Candidates with Advanced Degrees from Exam

Mike Seals - March 1, 2021 9:53 pm

House Approves Measure Exempting  Candidates with Advanced Degrees from Required Subject Area Examination



OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma House of Representatives today passed legislation to exempt K-12 teaching candidates who hold advanced degrees from subject area exemption.

House Bill 1796 is authored by Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond. It allows the State Board of Education (SBE) to exempt a teacher from taking a subject area exam if the teacher has an advanced degree in the subject that is substantially comparable to the content on the subject area exam.

“Oklahoma continues to face a significant teacher shortage, and our students cannot receive the best possible education when they are in an overcrowded classroom with dozens of their peers also demanding the teacher’s attention,” Miller said. “I believe House Bill 1796 will provide another avenue to get qualified educators in our classrooms.”

While presenting the bill on the House floor, Miller told members that HB1796 expands provisions previously created in Senate Bill 1115, which was signed into law in 2020 and allowed alternatively certified teachers to be exempt from taking the Oklahoma Subject Area Tests if they possess an advanced degree in the subject area. Miller explained that HB1796 would expand that provision to all other teacher certification pathways.

Miller said the Office of Educational Quality and Accountability (OEQA), which is the accrediting body for colleges of education, supported SB 1115 last year and is supportive of HB1796 as well.

HB1796 passed the House 91-1 and is now eligible to be considered in the Senate, where it is authored by Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond.


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