Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy
The state should offer a license with minimal requirements that allows content experts to teach part time.
California offers the Visiting Faculty Permit (VPF), which allows individuals who have a minimum of three years experience teaching at the postsecondary level to teach in a departmentalized K-12 setting. Candidates cannot apply for this license; only districts with a demonstrated need in a shortage area can make a request to hire an individual under a VPF.
Candidates for a VPF must have a master's degree or higher and submit their past two performance evaluations as evidence of effective teaching. VPF applicants are not required to pass a subject-matter exam.
The VPF is issued for a one-year term and may only be reissued twice. After the first year, individuals teaching under the VPF must complete a methodology course at a California college or university. If after three years the VPF teacher has also earned an English Learner authorization, then he or she is eligible for a full teacher credential.
Statutory authorization for this license expires in 2015.
Require applicants to pass a subject-matter test.
Although the VPF is designed to enable college and university faculty to teach in K-12 classrooms, California should still require a subject-matter test. While a major—or even an advanced degree—is generally indicative of background in a particular subject area, only a subject-matter test ensures that VPF teachers know the specific content they will need to teach.
Expand the license to include content experts other than college faculty.
California should permit other individuals with deep subject-area knowledge to teach a limited number of courses without fulfilling a complete set of certification requirements.
California recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.