The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching.
Florida allows new teachers who have not passed required state licensing tests to teach for up to three years on a temporary certificate. Although the state requires teachers to pass its general knowledge test in the first year of teaching, it allows teachers to practice for up to three years without passing its required content test.
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, instead extending personal consideration to adults who may not be able to meet minimal state standards. Florida should ensure that all teachers have passed their licensing tests—an important minimum benchmark for entering the profession—prior to entering the classroom.
Limit exceptions to one year.
There might be limited and exceptional circumstances under which conditional licenses need to be granted. In these instances, it is reasonable for a state to give teachers up to one year to pass required licensure tests. However, Florida's current policy puts students at risk by allowing teachers to teach on emergency certificates for three years without passing required subject-matter tests.
Florida recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that a bachelor's degree or equivalent is required in the subject area to earn a Temporary Certificate.
Research has shown that "the difference in student performance in a single academic year from having a good as opposed to a bad teacher can be more than one full year of standardized achievement." See E. Hanushek, "The Trade-Off between Child Quantity and Quality," The Journal of Political Economy 100 No. 1 (1992): 84-117. Hanushek has also found that highly effective teachers can improve future student earnings by more than $400,000, assuming a class of 20. "The Economic Value of Higher Teacher Quality." National Bureau of Economic Research. Working Paper 16606 (2010).