The state should offer a license with minimal requirements that allows content experts to teach part time.
Indiana does not offer a license with minimal requirements
that would allow content experts to teach part time.
Offer a license that allows content experts to serve as part-time
Indiana should permit individuals with deep subject-area knowledge to teach a limited number of courses without fulfilling a complete set of certification requirements. The state should verify content knowledge through a rigorous test and conduct background checks as appropriate, while waiving all other licensure requirements. Such a license would increase flexibility to staff certain subjects, including many STEM areas, that are frequently hard to staff or may not have high enough enrollment to necessitate a full-time position.
Indiana noted that part-time permits were previously proposed. After vigorous public comment by stakeholders during statewide rule promulgation, the State Board of Education authorized the Career Specialist Permit rather than (part-time) content permits.
SEA 566 was passed by the Indiana General Assembly during the 2015 session and went into effect July 1, 2015. SEA 566 requires the Indiana Department of Education to establish a program for individuals to receive a license to teach a "STEM” (Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Mathematics) content area in an Indiana public or charter school if they hold a bachelor’s degree or graduate degree with a grade point average of at least a 2.5 on a 4.0 scale from an accredited postsecondary educational institution. They must hold a major in any combination of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and an education minor or concentration from an accredited teacher preparation program recognized by the state board of education as preparing educators to meet requirements for licensure. The program allows the individual to teach in a school corporation or charter school while in the process of obtaining the license.
can help alleviate severe shortages, especially in STEM subjects.
Some of the subject areas in which states face the greatest teacher shortages are also areas that require the deepest subject-matter expertise. Staffing shortages are further exacerbated because schools or districts may not have high enough enrollments to necessitate full-time positions. Part-time licenses can be a creative mechanism to get content experts to teach a limited number of courses. Of course, a fully licensed teacher is best, but when that isn't an option, a part-time license allows students to benefit from content experts—individuals who are not interested in a full-time teaching position and are thus unlikely to pursue traditional or alternative certification. States should limit requirements for part-time licenses to those that verify subject-matter knowledge and address public safety, such as background checks.
Part-Time Teaching Licenses: Supporting Research
The origin of this goal is the effort to find creative solutions to the STEM crisis. While teaching waivers are not typically used this way, teaching waivers could be used to allow competent professionals from outside of education to be hired as part-time instructors to teach courses such as Advanced Placement chemistry or calculus as long as the instructor demonstrates content knowledge on a rigorous test. See NCTQ, "Tackling the STEM Crisis: Five steps your state can take to improve the quality and quantity of its K-12 math and science teachers", at: http://www.nctq.org/p/docs/nctq_nmsi_stem_initiative.pdf.
For the importance of teachers' general academic ability, see R. Ferguson, "Paying for Public Education: New Evidence on How and Why Money Matters," Harvard Journal on Legislation,Volume 28, Summer 1991, pp. 465-498.
For more on math and science content knowledge, see D. Monk, "Subject Area Preparation of Secondary Mathematics and Science Teachers and Student Achievement," Economics of Education Review, Volume 13, No. 2, June 1994, pp. 125-145; R. Murnane, "Understanding the Sources of Teaching Competence: Choices, Skills, and the Limits of Training," Teachers College Record, Volume 84, No. 3, 1983, pp. 564-569.