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:
Alabama allows new teachers who have not passed required state licensing tests to teach on an emergency certificate. These certificates are issued at the request of the employing superintendent or headmaster to candidates who hold at least a bachelor's degree when no certified teachers are available.
Emergency License Validity Period: Alabama's emergency certificate is valid for up to one year and may not be extended or renewed.
Alabama Administrative Code 290-3-2-.24
Ensure that all teachers pass required subject-matter licensing tests before they enter the classroom.
Alabama's policy offering its emergency license 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.
Alabama indicated that NCTQ's analysis did not make it clear why the state warrants a "Nearly Meets" instead of a "Meets" for this goal.
Alabama's helpful question reinforced the importance of including the information that can be found in the "How We Graded" section, below.
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.