Licensure Reciprocity

2011 Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy

2011 Goals for Licensure Reciprocity

The state should help to make licenses fully portable among states, with appropriate safeguards.

Best practices

Alabama and Texas appropriately support licensure reciprocity by only requiring certified teachers from other states to meet Alabama's and Texas's own testing requirements and by not specifying any additional coursework or recency requirements to determine eligibility for either traditional or alternate route teachers. 

Best practice 2

States

Meets goal 0

States

Nearly meets goal 3

States

Meets goal in part 13

States

Meets a small part of goal 15

States

Does not meet goal 18

States

Do states require all out-of-state teachers to pass in-state licensure tests to receive licensure?

2011
Figure details

Yes: AK, AL, ID, IL, MA, MN, ND, NY, OH, PA, SD, TX, UT, WA, WI

No: AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, ME, MI, MO, MS, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, OK, OR, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WV, WY

Do states treat out-of-state teachers equally regardless of whether they were prepared in a traditional or an alternate route program?

2011
Figure details

Yes. State treats out-of-state teachers equally regardless of preparation type. : AL, DE, GA, NC, TX, WV

Partially. State maintains policies that have the potential to create obstacles for teachers prepared through alternate routes. : CA, KS, NY, RI, WA, WY

No. State maintains specific and distinct requirements for teachers prepared through alternate routes. : AK, AR, AZ, CO, CT, DC, FL, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA, VT, WI

How we graded

Using transcripts to judge teacher competency provides little value.

In an attempt to ensure that teachers have the appropriate professional and subject-matter knowledge base when granting certification, states often review a teacher's college transcript, no matter how many years earlier a bachelor's degree was earned. A state certification specialist reviews the college transcript, looking for course titles that appear to match state requirements. If the right matches are not found, a teacher may be required to complete additional coursework before receiving standard licensure. This practice holds true even for experienced teachers who are trying to transfer from another state, regardless of experience or success level. The application of these often complex state rules results in unnecessary obstacles to hiring talented and experienced teachers. Little evidence indicates that reviewing a person's undergraduate coursework improves the quality of the teaching force or ensures that teachers have adequate knowledge.

Testing requirements should be upheld, not waived.
While many states impose burdensome coursework requirements, they often fail to impose minimum standards on licensure tests. Instead, they offer waivers to veteran teachers transferring from other states, thereby failing to impose minimal standards of professional and subject-matter knowledge. In upholding licensure standards for out-of-state teachers, the state should be flexible in its processes but vigilant in its verification of adequate knowledge. Too many states have policies and practices that reverse these priorities, focusing diligently on comparison of transcripts to state documents while demonstrating little oversight of teachers' knowledge. If a state can verify that a teacher has taught successfully and has the required subject-matter and professional knowledge, its only concern should be ensuring that the teacher is familiar with the state's student learning standards.

States licensing out-of-state teachers should not differentiate between experienced teachers prepared in alternate routes and those prepared in traditional programs.

It is understandable that states are wary of accepting alternate route teachers from other states, since programs vary widely in quality. However, the same wide variety in quality can be found in traditional programs. If a teacher comes from another state with a standard license and can pass the state's licensure tests, whether the preparation was traditional or alternative should be irrelevant.

Research rationale

Many professions have gone further than teaching in encouraging interstate mobility. The requirements for attorneys, for example, are complicated, but often offer certain kinds of flexibility, such as allowing them to answer a small set of additional questions. See the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admissions Requirements 2007, published by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and the American Bar Association, available at:
http://www.ncbex.org/ .

On the similarity in effectiveness between graduates of traditional and alternative programs, see  J. Constantine, D. Player, T. Silva, K. Hallgren, M. Grider, and J. Deke, An Evaluation of Teachers Trained Through Different Routes to Certification, Final Report. National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Services, U.S. Department of Education (2009), D. Boyd, et al. "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement." Education Finance and Policy, (2006).  T. Kane, J. Rockoff, and D. Staiger. "What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness? Evidence from New York City." National Bureau of Economic Research. (2006), G. Henry and C. Thompson, "Impacts of Teacher Preparation on Student Test Scores in North Carolina." Teacher Portals. University of North Carolina (2010). Z.Xu, J. Hannaway and C. Taylor, "Making a Difference? The Effects of Teach for America in High School." The Urban Institute/Calder. (2009), D. Boyd et al "Recruiting Effective Math Teachers, How Do Math Immersion Teachers Compare? Evidence from New York City." Calder Institute (2009); as well as "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement," by Donald Boyd, Pamela Grossman, Hamilton Lankford, Susanna Loeb, and James Wyckoff, National Bureau of Economic Research, December 2005; and "The Effects of Teach For America on Students: Findings from a National Evaluation," (Mathematica Policy Research Inc., 2004).

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