Licensure Loopholes: Michigan

Exiting Ineffective Teachers Policy


The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching.

Meets a small part of goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Licensure Loopholes: Michigan results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Michigan's policies

Michigan allows full-year permits to be issued when a certified teacher is unavailable for a particular assignment. When a permit is requested for a core academic subject, the candidate must either have an academic major in the subject or pass a subject-area test. Permits are renewable for two years. Renewal requires six semester hours of additional credit toward certification if a certified teacher remains unavailable. Candidates with a major must also pass the subject-area test within three years.

In addition, out-of-state certified teachers can be issued Temporary Teacher Employment Authorizations, valid for one year and nonrenewable, allowing teachers one year to meet Michigan testing requirements. Michigan also issues permits in emergency situations, allowing candidates to teach if they hold at least a bachelor's or higher degree in the area to be taught if an otherwise qualified candidate is unavailable. The permit is valid "for a specific period of time under emergency circumstances." These permits are renewable, provided the emergency situation continues and the candidate is enrolled in a teacher preparation program, has completed at least six credit hours toward certification and is assigned a mentor. 


Recommendations for Michigan

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. Even though Michigan requires at least some demonstration of subject-matter knowledge for its provisional permits, the state should ensure that all teachers pass all required licensure tests—an important minimum benchmark for entering the profession—before they enter the classroom.  

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 licensing tests. Michigan's current policy puts students at risk by allowing teachers to teach on special permits for at least three years without passing required licensing tests.

State response to our analysis

Michigan recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

Research rationale

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 100 No. 1 (1992): 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 (2010).