The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching. This goal was consistent between 2015 and 2017.
Emergency License(s) Availability: Alaska offers an emergency special services, or Type C, certificate. In order to employ a person with this certificate, a district must demonstrate "to the satisfaction of the Commissioner that, despite diligent efforts, including advertising in one or more newspapers of general circulation, it has been unable to fill the position with a qualified person holding the required certificate." The applicant must meet mandatory training requirements that include dating violence awareness and prevention and youth suicide awareness and prevention.
Emergency License Validity Period: Alaska's Type C certificate is valid for a period not to exceed the end of the school year in which it is issued.
4 AAC 12.400 and 4 AAC 12.397(a)
Ensure that all teachers pass required subject-matter licensing tests before they enter the classroom.
Alaska's policy offering an emergency special services, or Type C, certificate for one year only minimizes the risks inherent in having teachers in classrooms who lack appropriate subject-matter knowledge; however, the state could strengthen its policy by requiring all teachers to meet subject-matter licensure requirements prior to entering the classroom.
Alaska recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
6B: Provisional and Emergency Licensure
Teachers who have not passed content licensing tests place students at risk. While states may need a regulatory basis for filling classroom positions with a few people who do not hold full teaching credentials, many of the regulations permitting this put the instructional needs of children at risk, often year after year. For example, schools can make liberal use of provisional certificates or waivers provided by the state if they fill classroom positions with instructors who have completed a teacher preparation program but have not passed their state licensing tests. These allowances are permitted for up to three years in some states. The unfortunate consequence is that students' needs are neglected in an effort to extend personal consideration to adults who cannot meet minimum state standards.
While some flexibility may be necessary because licensing tests are not always administered with the needed frequency, making provisional certificates and waivers available year after year could signal that the state does not put much value on its licensing standards or what they represent. States accordingly need to ensure that all persons given full charge of children's learning are required to pass the relevant licensing tests in their first year of teaching, ideally before they enter the classroom. Licensing tests are an important minimum benchmark in the profession, and states that allow teachers to postpone passing these tests are abandoning one of the basic responsibilities of licensure.