New state law means some teachers don’t have to pass exam to get licensed


June 23rd, 2022 by Chris Parks

Teachers who go through an Iowa college program no longer have to pass a professional exam to be licensed, thanks to a new state law that eliminates the so-called Praxis requirement for new teachers. The test was a particular obstacle for dual-language immersion programs because it’s only offered in English. Noelia Espinal (no-EH-lee-uh esp-ee-NAHL), a teacher at the Muskie Early Learning Center in Muscatine, says it was an unnecessary hurdle for bilingual teachers.

The Praxis test will still be required for teachers coming to Iowa from outside the U-S, which is a major drawback for schools that rely on teachers from Spanish-speaking countries. Rebecca Gomez leads a Spanish-immersion program at Pella Christian where many of the teachers are native Spanish-speakers from outside the U-S. Gomez says it’s hard to find qualified candidates locally.

She says the school’s religious requirements also narrow the hiring pool. Gomez says taking and retaking the Praxis can add months to the process of bringing in a new teacher on a visa.