Part Time Teaching Licenses: Arkansas

2011 Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should offer a license with minimal requirements that allows content experts to teach part time.

Best Practice
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Part Time Teaching Licenses: Arkansas results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/AR-Part-Time-Teaching-Licenses-7

Analysis of Arkansas's policies

Arkansas offers the Arkansas Professional Teaching Permit, which allows individuals to teach up to two class periods a day in grades 7-12.

Professional Teaching Permit candidates must have a bachelor's degree with a minimum of three years relevant work experience. Applicants must be currently employed in the content field related to their intended teaching assignment.

In addition, applicants must pass a subject-matter test. The state also requires that candidates complete a 40-hour pedagogy training within the first year of teaching. This training is designed specifically by the state for individuals teaching under the Professional Teaching Permit.

Citation

Recommendations for Arkansas

Consider flexibility in current employment requirement.
Arkansas is commended for offering a license that increases districts' flexibility to staff certain subjects, including many STEM areas, that are frequently hard to staff or may not have high enough enrollment to necessitate a full-time position. The state should consider whether its requirement that applicants be currently employed in the field they will teach is necessary. The state requires verification of content knowledge, as well as prior related work experience. The requirement of current employment in the field may unnecessarily exclude well-qualified candidates who may have retired or changed fields. 

State response to our analysis

Arkansas recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

How we graded

Part-time licenses can help alleviate severe shortages, especially in STEM subjects.  

Some of the subject areas in which states face the greatest teacher shortages are also areas that require the deepest subject-matter expertise.  Staffing shortages are further exacerbated because schools or districts may not have high enough enrollments to necessitate full-time positions.  Part-time licenses can be a creative mechanism to get content experts to teach a limited number of courses.  Of course, a fully licensed teacher is best, but when that isn't an option, a part-time license allows students to benefit from content experts—individuals who are not interested in a full-time teaching position and are thus unlikely to pursue traditional or alternative certification.  States should limit licensure requirements to those that verify subject-matter knowledge and address public safety, such as background checks.

Research rationale

The origin of this goal is the effort to find creative solutions to the STEM crisis. While teaching waivers are not typically used this way, teaching waivers could be used to allow competent professionals from outside of education to be hired as part-time instructors to teach courses such as Advanced Placement chemistry or calculus as long as the instructor demonstrates content knowledge on a rigorous test. See NCTQ, "Tackling the STEM Crisis" at: http://www.nctq.org/p/docs/nctq_nmsi_stem_initiative.pdf

For the importance of teachers' general academic ability, see R. Ferguson, "Paying for Public Education: New Evidence on How and Why Money Matters," Harvard Journal on Legislation 28 (1991), 465-498.

For more on math and science content knowledge, see D. Monk and J.R. King, "Subject Area Preparation of Secondary Mathematics and Science Teachers and Student Achievement," Economics of Education Review 12, no. 2 (1994), 125-145; R. Murnane, "Understanding the Sources of Teaching Competence: Choices, Skills, and the Limits of Training," Teachers College Record 84, no. 3 (1983)