The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching. This goal was reorganized in 2021.
Emergency License(s) Availability: New legislation in Alaska allows for districts to request a temporary emergency certificate when a qualified applicant is not available. An applicant must have the minimum of an associate degree. The district must provide an experience teacher as a mentor to the holder of the temporary emergency certificate.
Emergency License(s) Validity Period: The temporary emergency certificate is valid for the academic year in which it was issued and is not renewable.
COVID-19 State Policy: Alaska has implemented the following changes to its rules regarding Provisional and Emergency Licensure. Candidates unable to meet testing requirements can apply for an Emergency Initial Certificate, which is valid for one year, to teach during the 2020-2021 school year. Candidates can waive the following requirements: bachelor's degree, program verification, passing scores on the basic competency exam, passing scores on the content area exam, completion of Alaskan Studies course, and notarization. COVID-19 policies do not affect the state's grade in Provisional and Emergency Licensure.
Requirements for Out-of-State Teachers: Because licensure requirements for out-of-state teachers are scored in Requirements for Out-of-State Teachers, only the state's policies regarding emergency/provisional license(s) are considered as part of this goal.
Ensure that all teachers pass required subject-matter licensing tests before they enter the classroom.
Alaska's policy offering licenses to teachers who have not met all requirements for one year 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; however, this analysis was updated subsequent to the state's review.
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.