Part Time Teaching Licenses: Kansas

2011 Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should offer a license with minimal requirements that allows content experts to teach part time.

Meets a small part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Part Time Teaching Licenses: Kansas results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/KS-Part-Time-Teaching-Licenses-7

Analysis of Kansas's policies

Kansas offers a Visiting Scholar teaching license to individuals who demonstrate "exceptional talent or outstanding distinction in one or more subjects or fields." The state does not provide additional guidelines for obtaining a Visiting Scholar license or about the intent of the certificate.

Applicants must have written verification of employment upon licensure from a school district administrator. The state board of education reviews documentation and approves applicants on a case-by-case basis. 

Citation

Recommendations for Kansas

Offer a license that allows content experts to serve as part-time instructors.
It is unclear whether the Visiting Scholar license serves as a vehicle for individuals with deep subject-area knowledge to teach a limited number of courses without fulfilling a complete set of certification requirements. It appears that may be the intent of the license; however, state policy does not describe the conditions of employment, whether it is for part-time or full-time teaching, or requirements that candidates must fulfill. 

Require applicants to pass a subject-matter test.
Although this license is designed to enable distinguished individuals to teach, Kansas should still require a subject-matter test.  While documentation provided by the applicant may show evidence of expertise in a particular field, only a subject-matter test ensures that Visiting Scholar teachers know the specific content they will need to teach.

State response to our analysis

That state explained that the Visiting Scholar license is a one-year license designed for someone with exceptional experience, "such as native language speaker, former CEO teaching business, physician teaching health, etc." 

Last word

NCTQ encourages Kansas to consider building on this license to develop an adjunct license that can help districts address critical shortage areas. 

How we graded

Part-time licenses 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 licensure requirements to those that verify subject-matter knowledge and address public safety, such as background checks.

Research rationale

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" 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 28 (1991), 465-498.

For more on math and science content knowledge, see D. Monk and J.R. King, "Subject Area Preparation of Secondary Mathematics and Science Teachers and Student Achievement," Economics of Education Review 12, no. 2 (1994), 125-145; R. Murnane, "Understanding the Sources of Teaching Competence: Choices, Skills, and the Limits of Training," Teachers College Record 84, no. 3 (1983)