The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching.
Arkansas allows in-state program graduates to teach for one year under a nonrenewable provisional license if they have not completed their required subject-specific and pedagogical (Praxis II) assessments and/or the required Arkansas history course. This waiver is available to out-of state teachers as well, whether or not they have been licensed in another state.
Arkansas Department of Education, Rules Governing Initial, Standard/Advanced Level and Provisional Teacher Licensure, July 2010 http://www.sos.arkansas.gov/elections/elections_pdfs/register/Jan11Reg/005.16.10-002.pdf Arkansas Department of Education, Teacher Licensure http://arkansased.org/educators/licensure/reciprocity.html
Ensure that all teachers pass required subject-matter licensing tests before they enter the classroom.
While Arkansas' policy minimizes the risks brought about by having teachers in classrooms who lack sufficient or appropriate subject-matter knowledge by offering its provisional license for one year only, the state could take its policy a step further and require all teachers to meet subject-matter licensure requirements prior to entering the classroom.
Arkansas recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
Research has shown that "the difference in student performance in a single academic year from having a good as opposed to a bad teacher can be more than one full year of standardized achievement." See E. Hanushek, "The Trade-Off between Child Quantity and Quality," The Journal of Political Economy 100 No. 1 (1992): 84-117. Hanushek has also found that highly effective teachers can improve future student earnings by more than $400,000, assuming a class of 20. "The Economic Value of Higher Teacher Quality." National Bureau of Economic Research. Working Paper 16606 (2010).