Arizona is no longer requiring teachers to have college degrees. This could reduce the progressive presence in public education and improve trust in public education—barely one-quarter of Americans trust the institution as of this past weekend.
Governor Doug Ducey is pushing “alternative education” in Arizona by signing a new law stating public school teachers are no longer required to have a college degree before being hired; teachers just need to be enrolled in college. Ducey put this into effect just days after he signed the school choice law, extending education choice to all school-age children.
Teacher shortages are part of the reason why. Law SB 1159 was passed because of Arizona’s severe teacher shortage over the last six years. This past winter, 26% of teacher vacancies were unfilled, and roughly 2,000 classrooms were without an official teacher. Ducey claims that loosening the teacher credential requirements would help fill these gaps.
Why the Left disapproves. Opponents of this bill say that the state doesn’t care about the education of students. David Berliner, an education psychologist at Arizona State University and former president of the American Educational Research Association, says, it's “more evidence that the state doesn’t care who teaches its kids.”
Why the Right approves. In the spring, anti-CRT activist Christopher Rufo requested that state lawmakers revoke requirements that require teachers to hold education degrees, especially master's degrees. Rufo, among other conservative thinkers, claims that these programs produce highly progressive and political teachers—because of the highly progressive colleges giving out the diplomas.
It’s true—individuals with higher degrees are more progressive. Thirty-one percent of people with post-graduate educations are consistently liberal, which has increased from 7% in 1994. Allowing for a more diverse educational background among teachers may prevent Critical Race Theory from entering the classrooms.