Last week, Tennessee joined Rhode Island, Louisiana and Delaware in requiring teachers to show evidence of effectiveness to advance from an apprenticeship license to a professional license. While the details of the change are still up in the air, we are encouraged that teacher effectiveness will be a factor in determining licensure in the Volunteer State.
Before this change, Tennessee as well as 41 other states and the District of Columbia required teachers to take additional, nonspecific coursework before they could earn or renew their professional license. Tennessee was also one of 23 states plus DC that either required or encouraged teachers to have an advanced degree for license advancement. With no evidence that this coursework increases student achievement, these hoops place additional burdens on teachers, reward behavior unconnected to student achievement, and ignore big predictors of future success with students, namely their effectiveness so far.