The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching. This goal was reorganized in 2021.
Emergency License(s) Availability: Maine offers a conditional certificate to teachers who have not met all of the requirements of a professional certificate, including passing state licensing tests. The conditional certificate may also be issued to "an individual who is eligible for an endorsement to teach in a teacher shortage area as determined by the commissioner," or a teacher with a current professional teacher certificate who is transitioning to another endorsement. All persons teaching under a conditional endorsement must meet the conditional endorsement requirements for the specific endorsement area. These conditional endorsement requirements include a bachelor's degree and minimum coursework requirements, which vary by endorsement area.
The state also offers a Certification Waiver when a school is unable to find a teacher who is properly certified; it can be issued to "an applicant who receives inaccurate, incomplete or untimely information or action from the Department, a SAU or a local consortium." The waiver can also be issued to an applicant who demonstrates compliance with certification requirements by alternate methods including: passing scores on the GRE, state-approved licensure exams, examinations from professional testing corporations that align with coursework requirements, or work experience equivalent to approved coursework. The certificate waiver cannot be issued to someone seeking an endorsement in special education. The Maine Rules state: "Individuals serving under a waiver of certification must be in compliance" with the section of rules that requires every individual to have an "appropriate credential." It is unclear whether this means that persons employed on certificate waivers are generally teachers with a current certificate who have a waiver to teach out-of-field, while they meet the requirements of the new endorsement area.
Emergency License Validity Period: Maine's conditional certificate is valid for three years This certificate can be renewed twice, and a passing score on all obligatory tests is required only during the third and final review period. The certification waiver shall be issued "only for the minimum length of time the Commissioner deems necessary..."
COVID-19 State Policy: Maine has implemented the following changes to its rules regarding Provisional and Emergency Licensure. Conditional certificates that expire July 1, 2020 are extended until July 1, 2021. This includes certificate holders at the end of their third year. Additionally, initial certification candidates who have not completed all coursework or student teaching requirements will be issued a conditional certificate. COVID-19 policies do not affect the state's grade in Provisional and Emergency Licensure.
Requirements for Out-of-State Teachers: Because licensure requirements for out-of-state teachers are scored in Requirements for Out-of-StateTeachers, only the state's policies regarding emergency/provisional license(s) are considered as part of this goal.
Rule Chapter for the Department of Education, 05-071 Chapter 115 Part I, Sections 6.6, 6.10 and Chapter 115 Part II Maine Revised Statutes 20-A Chapter 502 Sections 13011 and 13012-A COVID-19 Information: https://mainedoenews.net/2020/05/13/priority-notice-executive-order-regarding-educator-certification/ https://www.maine.gov/doe/cert/initial/flowchart
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, because it enables adults who may not be able to meet minimal state standards to earn teaching licenses. Maine should ensure that all teachers are required to pass licensing tests — an important minimum benchmark for entering the profession —before entering the classroom as the teacher of record.
Limit exceptions to one year.
Although suboptimal, there may be limited and exceptional circumstances under which conditional or emergency licenses are necessary. In these instances, it is reasonable for a state to give teachers up to one year to pass required licensing tests. However, Maine's current policy puts students at risk by allowing the issuance of conditional certificates that are valid for three years before teachers are required to pass required licensing tests.
Maine did not respond to NCTQ's request to review this analysis for accuracy.
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.