Ciresi and James applaud the inclusion of dance teacher certification legislation in the 2022-23 state budget
HARRISBURG, June 14 – Legislation drafted by State Representatives Joe Ciresi and R. Lee James to create a direct path for dance teacher certification, HB 2678, was included in the 2022-23 state budget.
Due to Ciresi and James’ legislative push, the public school code now includes a provision directing the Pennsylvania Department of Education to develop a K-12 dance teaching certificate, with exceptions for current dance teachers and those in the process of being obtained. a dance teaching certificate.
“I’m proud that this year’s budget incorporated Rep. James’s legislation and mine to create a direct path to dance certification,” said Ciresi, D-Montgomery. “Our legislation was intended to improve Pennsylvania’s dance programs by requiring discipline-specific training in dance for new teachers. Now, there will be a clear path to dance teacher certification, which will improve the quality of Pennsylvania’s dance programs, benefiting the thousands of Pennsylvania students in K-12 schools.
Previously, dance teachers in Pennsylvania could not be directly certified in dance and were instead certified in communication or physical or vocational education. According to lawmakers, the certification process has had a negative impact on dance teacher preparation, continuing education and school district dance programs in Pennsylvania.
“We introduced this legislation to modernize dance teacher certification in Pennsylvania by allowing dance teachers to be certified in their discipline and ensuring that our dance teacher certification standards are aligned with national standards” , said Ciresi. “We felt we owe it to our dance teachers, students, and school district dance programs to have the state Department of Education establish a direct pathway for certification of new dance teachers. dance, requiring discipline-specific dance training for new dance teachers, just as we do. for music, visual arts, math and science teachers. I am very happy that this is happening now.
Critics have criticized both the fact that dance teacher certification lacks dance-specific content and that the current different pathways to dance teacher certification create undue confusion, promote workarounds and made it unreasonably difficult for dance teachers to pursue certification in Pennsylvania. .
“I was pleased to successfully work with Rep. Joe Ciresi to secure a bipartisan vote from the Pennsylvania House for a direct path to dance teacher certification,” said James, R-Venango. “Artistic expression in dance is beneficial for physical and mental well-being.”
The Pennsylvania Dance Education Organization publicly supported the legislation and produced a needs assessment in 2019 showing both sufficient school district demand and teacher training capacity at state higher education institutions for a pathway. direct to dance teacher certification.
“The Pennsylvania Dance Education Organization is celebrating this moment. Highly qualified dance teachers will now have a direct path to K-12 certification, to better serve students across the Commonwealth by expanding worldviews, community engagement and personal experiences. We are deeply grateful for the support of Representatives Ciresi and James in making this impactful initiative a reality,” said PDEO.