The state should maintain requirements that make teaching licenses held by effective teachers fully portable across state lines, with appropriate safeguards. This goal has been revised since 2017.
Eligibility for Standard License: Indiana allows out-of-state teachers to be eligible for its practitioner license with at least three years of full-time teaching experience. For out-of-state teachers prepared via an alternate route in one of seven content areas, including Elementary Generalist, Indiana requires applicants to complete coursework while on a temporary reciprocal permit.
Evidence of Effectiveness: Indiana does not require evidence of effective teaching during previous employment in its reciprocity policy.
Testing Requirement: Indiana allows for the acceptance of out-of-state licensure tests. Applicants must provide documentation of passing licensure test scores, and the out-of-state license must be "full," not temporary, emergency, substitute or other. Indiana requires an applicant to pass a content (subject matter) licensure test in every content area that will appear on the Indiana license issued.
Additional Requirements: Indiana places restrictions on seven licensure content areas (including elementary generalist and exceptional needs) that cannot be transferred from an out-of-state license "if in the way that content area was obtained was through testing alone." This suggests the state has differing requirements for applicants prepared via alternate routes in another state. Out-of-state applicants in this situation might be eligible for a temporary reciprocal permit while completing Indiana coursework requirements.
Background Checks: Regrettably, Indiana does not explicitly require a full criminal-history background check, complete with a fingerprinting requirement. Therefore, the state cannot ensure that teachers granted certification through reciprocity possess an updated clean record.
Offer a standard license to certified out-of-state teachers, absent unnecessary requirements.
Indiana should reconsider its recency requirement as a means to judge licensure eligibility. Recent coursework is unlikely to positively affect a teacher's effectiveness, and such a requirement may deter experienced, effective teachers from applying for licensure in the state. Indiana should also consider allowing a test-out option for its state-specific coursework requirements.
Require evidence of effective teaching when determining eligibility for full certification.
To facilitate the movement of effective teachers between states, Indiana should require that evidence of teacher effectiveness, as determined by an evaluation that includes objective measures of objective student growth data, be considered for all out-of-state candidates.
Require a criminal-history background check.
As a condition of licensure, Indiana should ensure that all out-of-state candidates pass a complete criminal-history background check. Because of differences in state statutes regarding the scope of teacher criminal background checks, a clear criminal background check from another state would not necessarily indicate that a teacher would pass Indiana's criminal background check.
Indiana recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
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.