The state should help to make licenses fully portable among states for effective teachers, with appropriate safeguards. The bar for this goal was raised in 2017.
Eligibility for Standard License: California allows teachers with comparable out-of-state certificates to be eligible for its Clear Teaching Credential.
Evidence of Effectiveness: California does not require evidence of effective teaching. Out-of-state teachers must submit proof verifying at least two satisfactory evaluations.
Testing Requirement: California does not require out-of-state teachers to meet the state's passing scores on content tests.
Additional Requirements: California requires teachers with two or more years of experience to have one of the following: 150 hours of professional activities, a master's degree or higher, or a bachelor's degree with a minimum of 150 semester units. Teachers must also earn an authorization to teach English learners as well as meet the state's subject-matter competence, meaning the out-of-state credential must correspond with a California subject area, or the candidate must complete 32 units of coursework in the California subject area. Teachers with fewer than two years of experience are also eligible for the state's clear credential if they complete California's two-year induction program, in addition to earning an authorization to teach English learners and meeting the state's subject-matter competence. Those with National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification will be issued a Clear Teaching Credential for the corresponding subject area. California also requires a criminal-history background check.
Require evidence of effective teaching when determining eligibility for full certification.
To facilitate the movement of effective teachers between states, California should require that evidence of teacher effectiveness, as determined by an evaluation that includes objective measures of student growth, be considered for all out-of-state candidates. Such evidence should indeed be a factor for candidates who come from states that make student growth a determinative factor of a teacher evaluation. (See "Student Growth" analysis and recommendations.) Although California requires proof of satisfactory evaluations, the policy falls short of ensuring that evidence of effectiveness will be reflected in these evaluation scores.
To uphold standards, require that teachers coming from other states meet testing requirements.
California should insist that out-of-state teachers meet its own testing requirements, and it should not waive its teacher testing requirements unless an applicant can provide evidence of a passing score that meets its own standards. By continuing to allow testing waivers, California cannot ensure that teachers who have passed assessments in other states have met comparable content-knowledge expectations.
Offer a standard license to certified out-of-state teachers, absent unnecessary requirements.
California should reconsider its requirement of a master's degree or excessive undergraduate coursework, for research has concluded that these requirements do not positively affect teacher effectiveness. The professional activities requirement is also burdensome and may deter talented out-of-state teachers from applying for certification in California. The state's induction requirement is not unreasonable for teachers with less experience; however, the decision about whether an out-of-state teacher needs additional support may best be left in the hands of school principals.
California declined to respond to NCTQ's analyses.
6A: Requirements for Out-of-State Teachers
Evidence of effectiveness is far more important than transcript review. In an attempt to ensure that teachers have the appropriate professional and subject-matter knowledge base when granting certification, states often review a teacher's college transcript, no matter how many years earlier a bachelor's degree was earned. A state certification specialist reviews the college transcript, looking for course titles that appear to match state requirements. If the right matches are not found, a teacher may be required to complete additional coursework before receiving standard licensure. This practice holds true even for experienced teachers who are trying to transfer from another state, regardless of their prior success. The application of these often complex state rules results in unnecessary obstacles to hiring talented and experienced teachers. Evaluation systems which prioritize effectiveness and evidence of student learning offer an opportunity to bypass counterproductive efforts like transcript review and get to the heart of the matter: is the out-of-state teacher seeking licensure in a new state an effective teacher?
Testing requirements should be upheld, not waived. While some states have historically imposed burdensome coursework requirements, many have simultaneously failed to impose minimum standards for licensure testing. Instead, some states have offered waivers to veteran teachers transferring from other states, thereby failing to impose minimal standards of professional and subject-matter knowledge. In upholding licensure standards for out-of-state teachers, the state should be flexible in its processes but vigilant in its verification of adequate knowledge. It is all too common for states to develop policies and practices that reverse these priorities, focusing diligently on comparison of transcripts to state documents while demonstrating little oversight of teachers' knowledge. If a state can verify that a teacher has taught successfully and has the required subject-matter and professional knowledge, its only concern should be ensuring that the teacher is familiar with the state's student learning standards.
States licensing out-of-state teachers should not differentiate between experienced teachers prepared in alternate routes and those prepared in traditional programs. It is understandable that states are wary of accepting alternate route teachers from other states, since programs vary widely in quality. However, the same variance in quality can be found in traditional programs. If a teacher comes from another state with a standard license and a clean criminal record, has demonstrated evidence of effectiveness, and can pass the state's licensure tests, whether the preparation was traditional or alternative should be irrelevant.