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: Montana has an emergency authorization that can be granted to a district upon request after the position has been advertised statewide. Applicants for an emergency authorization must have "previously held a teacher or specialist license; or (ii) provide acceptable evidence of academic qualifications or significant experience related to the area for which the emergency authorization of employment is being sought."
The state also offers the Class 5 and 5A provisional licenses. An applicant for a Class 5 license must have a bachelor's degree and a plan of study from an educator preparation program indicating the applicant can meet the licensure requirements in three years. The Class 5A license is available to educator preparation candidates who have completed all of their program requirements except passage of the required Praxis test.
Emergency License Validity Period: Montana's emergency authorization is valid for one year. It is unclear whether the authorization may be renewed.
The Class 5 license is valid for three years and is not renewable. The Class 5A license is valid for one year and is not renewable.
COVID-19 State Policy: Montana has not implemented any changes to its rules regarding Provisional and Emergency Licensure.
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-State Teachers, only the state's policies regarding emergency/provisional license(s) are considered as part of this goal.
Montana Administrative Rules 10.57.107; 424 Montana Licensure Requirements http://opi.mt.gov/Educators/Licensure/Become-a-Licensed-Montana-Educator/Teaching-Specialist-Licenses
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. Montana 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. Montana's current policy puts students at risk by allowing teachers to teach for up to three years without passing required subject-matter licensing tests.
Montana 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.