The state should help to make licenses fully portable among states, with appropriate safeguards.
Massachusetts does not support licensure reciprocity for certified teachers from other states.
Commendably, Massachusetts requires that all teachers meet its own passing scores on licensing tests; out-of-state teachers are allowed one year to meet its testing requirements. This is particularly sound policy in light of Massachusetts's high standards when it comes to passing scores on subject-matter tests (see Goal 1-B).
However, other aspects of the state's policy create obstacles for teachers from other states seeking licensure in Massachusetts. Teachers with valid out-of-state certificates may be eligible for Massachusetts's Temporary license, or the state's Initial license. Applicants must meet the state's recency requirement of three years of experience within the last seven years and have completed an approved educator preparation program from another state.
Further, Massachusetts routinely reviews the college transcripts of licensed out-of-state teachers. Transcript analysis is an exercise that often leads to the requirement of additional coursework. States that reach a determination about an applicant's licensure status on the basis of the course titles listed on the applicant's transcript may end up mistakenly equating the amount of required coursework with the teacher's qualifications.
Massachusetts is also a participant in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement; however, the latest iteration of this agreement no longer purports to be a reciprocity agreement among states and thus is no longer included in this analysis.
Code of Massachusetts Regulations 603 CMR 7.05 Out-of-State Applicants www.doe.mass.edu/edprep/nasdtec.html
Offer a standard license to certified out-of-state teachers, absent unnecessary requirements.
Massachusetts should reconsider its recency requirement regarding experience, as it may deter talented teachers from applying for certification. It should also consider discontinuing its requirement for the submission of transcripts. Transcript analysis is likely to result in additional coursework requirements, even for traditionally prepared teachers; alternate route teachers, on the other hand, may have to virtually begin anew, repeating some, most or all of a teacher preparation program in Massachusetts.
Although it is not ideal to allow teachers who have not passed subject-matter tests to teach, allowing out-of-state teachers one year to meet the requirement while on a temporary certificate is reasonable; however, the state should offer standard licenses to certified out-of-state teachers, rather than restricting them to initial licenses, once they have met the testing requirements.
Accord the same license to out-of-state alternate route teachers as would be accorded to traditionally prepared teachers.
Regardless of whether a teacher was prepared through a traditional or alternate route, all certified out-of-state teachers should receive equal treatment. State policies that discriminate against teachers who were prepared in an alternate route are not supported by evidence. In fact, a substantial body of research has failed to discern differences in effectiveness between alternate and traditional route teachers.
Massachusetts was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis.