The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching. This goal was consistent between 2015 and 2017.
Emergency License(s) Availability: Kentucky allows teachers who have not passed state assessments to teach on a conditional certificate as long as the teacher preparation program and the school district agree to provide the teacher with support for retaking the assessment. The teacher must retake the required assessments during the one-year period for which the conditional certificate is valid.
The state also allows local districts to apply for emergency certificates for teachers without state licensure if they have a
bachelor's degree and a cumulative GPA of 2.5 (or a 3.0 in the last 60
credit hours they completed) and no qualified, licensed teacher is
For out-of-state teachers with fewer than two years of experience who have not taken required assessments for licensure, Kentucky issues temporary certificates.
Emergency License Validity Period: Kentucky's conditional certificate is valid for up to one year and is nonrenewable. Temporary certificates are valid for up to six months. These teachers must take and pass all required tests within the six-month window to have the temporary certificate extended for the remainder of the school year. Emergency certificates are valid for one year and cannot be renewed.
16 KAR 2:120 Kentucky Revised Statutes 161.030
Ensure that all teachers pass required subject-matter licensing tests before they enter the classroom.
Kentucky's policy offering its conditional and emergency certificates for up to one year attempts to minimize the risks inherent in having teachers in classrooms who lack appropriate subject-matter knowledge; however, the state could strengthen its policy by requiring all teachers to meet subject-matter licensure requirements prior to entering the classroom.
Kentucky recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
6B: Provisional and Emergency Licensure
Teachers who have not passed content licensing tests place students at risk. While states may need a regulatory basis for filling classroom positions with a few people who do not hold full teaching credentials, many of the regulations permitting this put the instructional needs of children at risk, often year after year. For example, schools can make liberal use of provisional certificates or waivers provided by the state if they fill classroom positions with instructors who have completed a teacher preparation program but have not passed their state licensing tests. These allowances are permitted for up to three years in some states. The unfortunate consequence is that students' needs are neglected in an effort to extend personal consideration to adults who cannot meet minimum state standards.
While some flexibility may be necessary because licensing tests are not always administered with the needed frequency, making provisional certificates and waivers available year after year could signal that the state does not put much value on its licensing standards or what they represent. States accordingly need to ensure that all persons given full charge of children's learning are required to pass the relevant licensing tests in their first year of teaching, ideally before they enter the classroom. Licensing tests are an important minimum benchmark in the profession, and states that allow teachers to postpone passing these tests are abandoning one of the basic responsibilities of licensure.