The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching.
Louisiana allows teachers who have not met licensure requirements to teach for one year on a Temporary Authority to Teach (TAT) certificate. This certificate may be issued for one year and is nonrenewable. Teachers must meet the requirements for a Practitioner license at the end of the year in order to continue teaching. The Practitioner license requires passage of a basic skills exam and content assessments where applicable.
The state also offers a one-year Temporary Employment Permit (TEP), which allows individuals who have not passed required state tests to teach if their aggregate score on all of their exams is equal to or higher than the total required on all the tests. This permit may be renewed for up to three years if the candidate demonstrates that the test was retaken during the past year.
Louisiana Bulletin 746 Sections 313, 323 and 326 Types of Teaching Authorizations and Certification https://www.teachlouisiana.net/pdf/licensurestructure.pdf
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. Louisiana should ensure that all teachers have passed their licensing tests—an important minimum benchmark for entering the profession—prior to entering the classroom. As described in several other goals, the state's cut-scores on at least some tests are already set at a point that makes assurance of content knowledge questionable; granting a conditional license to individuals unable to meet these low bars puts adult interest before student need.
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, Louisiana's current policy puts students at risk by allowing teachers who have not passed required subject-matter tests to teach for up to three years on the TEP certificate.
Louisiana reiterated that the Temporary Employment Permit (TEP or EP) may be issued up to three years, while the Temporary Authority to Teach (TAT) is only valid for one year. According to the state, only 38 individuals have been issued a TEP since 2004, and all Louisiana universities and non-IHE alternate providers require successful completion of Praxis exams before graduation or completion of courses.
The state further reiterated that the TEP is issued to an individual who meets all certification requirements with the exception of passing one of the components of the NTE/Praxis examination(s) but who has an aggregate score equal to or above the total required on all NTE/Praxis exams for the area of certification. Louisiana added that an individual can be reissued a temporary permit two times only if evidence is presented that the required exam has been retaken twice within one year from the date the permit was last issued. According to the state, nine TEPs were issued to teachers for the 2014-2015 school year who met the criteria in policy as stated above.
Teachers who have not
passed licensing subject-matter 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 minimal state standards.
While some flexibility may be necessary because licensing tests are not always administered with the needed frequency, the availability of provisional certificates and waivers year after year signals that even 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.
Extended Emergency Licenses: Supporting Research
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, Volume 100, No. 1, February 1992, pp. 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, December 2010.