The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching.
Kansas allows new teachers who have not met all or part of their licensure testing requirements to apply for a one-year, nonrenewable teaching license. Teachers must complete all required tests during the school year in order to upgrade to the conditional teaching license.
Kansas also allows some teachers who have not met its licensure requirements to continue teaching under a two-year prestandard license, referred to as Exchange Teaching. Based on an exchange agreement with nine other states, teachers who have completed an approved teacher education program can teach for two years while completing any licensure deficiencies, including subject-matter assessments.
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. Kansas 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. However, Kansas's current policy puts students at risk by allowing out of state teachers to teach on exchange certificates for up to two years without passing required subject-matter tests.
Kansas 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).