The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching.
North Dakota allows new teachers who have not met licensure requirements to teach under the alternative access license, which is issued in areas where there is a documented shortage of regularly licensed teachers. The applicant must have a bachelor's degree in the content area to be assigned, and renewal depends on supply and demand of certificated teachers available for these positions. The alternate access can be renewed annually, but the "license will be issued only once to complete all testing requirements for regular licensure."
North Dakota Century Code 67.1-02-04-01
Ensure that all teachers pass required subject-matter licensing tests before they enter the classroom.
While North Dakota's policy minimizes the risks brought about by having teachers in classrooms who lack sufficient or appropriate subject-matter knowledge by offering its alternative license for one year only before teachers are required to take the required subject-matter tests, the state could take its policy a step further and require all teachers to meet subject-matter license requirements prior to entering the classroom.
North Dakota had no comment on this goal.
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).