The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching.
Indiana allows new teachers who have not passed required subject-matter licensing tests to teach on an emergency permit, which is valid for one year but can be renewed twice. To qualify for the permit, the employing school superintendent must submit evidence of an emergency situation as well as verification of the applicant's progress toward meeting standards in the content area and enrollment in an approved certification program.
Renewal requires six semester hours of coursework toward an initial license in the subject area or verification of appropriate progress by the licensing advisor.
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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. Indiana 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 or emergency 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.
It was noted in the 2009 Yearbook that Indiana offered nonrenewable instructional emergency permits, valid for one year, to new teachers who specifically failed the Praxis II subject-matter tests. That policy has been revoked. However, Indiana's remaining policy continues to put students at risk by allowing teachers to teach on emergency certificates for up to three years without passing required subject-matter tests.
Indiana recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
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).