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: Arizona allows districts to employ people who have not met the state's licensure requirements to teach on an emergency teaching certificate "only in the district or charter school that verifies that an emergency employment situation exists." Emergency certifications cannot be issued to teach special education.
It is worth noting that, in general, Arizona does not require passage of content tests as a condition of initial licensure. Passage of content tests are one option for candidates to demonstrate content knowledge.
Emergency License Validity Period: Arizona's emergency teaching certificate is valid for one year and can be issued to an individual no more than three times. There are no requirements for renewal.
COVID-19 State Policy: Arizona has implemented the following changes to its rules regarding Provisional and Emergency Licensure. The State Board of Education has approved a "one-year deferral on the professional and subject knowledge exam requirements for the Student Teaching Intern Certificate while applicants are unable to take the exams because of the public health emergency." The Board is also proposing rule changes allowing candidates to be issued an emergency teaching certificate who have a bachelor's degree, have completed their program and provide "verification that the applicant was unable to take one or all portions of the proficiency assessments required for the requested certificate as the result of a public health emergency declared by the governor or a public health official." Emergency teaching certificates issued under this circumstance are valid for one year and may not be renewed or reissued. 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.
Arizona Administrative Code R7-2-614 (D)
Ensure that all teachers pass required subject-matter licensing tests before they enter the classroom.
All students are entitled to teachers who know the subject matter they are teaching. Permitting individuals who have not yet passed state licensing tests to teach neglects the needs of students, because it enables adults who may not be able to meet minimal state standards to earn teaching licenses. Arizona should ensure that all teachers are required to pass licensing tests — an important minimum benchmark for entering the profession — before entering the classroom as the teacher of record.
Limit exceptions to one year.
Although suboptimal, there may be limited and exceptional circumstances under which conditional or emergency licenses are necessary. In these instances, it is reasonable for a state to give teachers up to one year to pass required licensing tests. Arizona's current policy puts students at risk by allowing teachers to teach on emergency certificates for three years without passing required subject-matter licensing tests.
Arizona 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.