Secondary Teacher Preparation Policy
The state should distinguish between the preparation of middle school and elementary teachers. This goal was consistent between 2017 and 2020.
Commendably, the District of Columbia does not offer a K-8 generalist license. The District offers a grades 4-8 middle grades license.
DCMR 5-A 1602 https://dcregs.dc.gov/Common/DCMR/SectionList.aspx?SectionNumber=5-A1602
The District of Columbia indicated that OSSE issues the middle school general license if someone completes a middle school program and applies for that particular license; however, most applicants apply for a license in a specific content area (e.g., MS English, MS Science).
3B: Middle School Licensure Deficiencies
Middle school grades are critical years of schooling. It is in these years that far too many students fall through the cracks. However, requirements for the preparation and licensure of middle school teachers can be especially problematic. States need to distinguish the knowledge and skills needed by middle school teachers from those needed by an elementary teacher. Whether teaching a single subject in a departmentalized setting or teaching multiple subjects in a self-contained setting, middle school teachers must be able to teach significantly more advanced content than elementary teachers. In order to do so, middle school teachers must be deeply knowledgeable about every subject they will be licensed to teach, and able to pass a licensing test in every core subject to demonstrate this knowledge. The notion that someone should be identically prepared to teach first grade or eighth grade mathematics seems ridiculous, but states that license teachers on a K-8 generalist certificate essentially endorse this idea.