The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching. This goal was consistent between 2015 and 2017.
Emergency License(s) Availability: New Mexico requires that only teachers who have met all state requirements may teach in core academic areas. Core academic subjects are defined as "English, language arts, reading, mathematics, science, modern and classical languages, except the modern and classical Native American languages and cultures of New Mexico tribes or pueblos, the arts, including music and visual arts, and social studies, which includes civics, government, economics, history, and geography."
However, the state allows teachers in non-core academic areas to teach under endorsement waivers, provided evidence is presented of emergency circumstances.
Emergency License Validity Period: The validity period of an endorsement waiver is one year.
New Mexico Administrative Code 6.61.2, -.3, -.4, -.9
As a result of New Mexico's strong provisional and emergency licensing policies, no recommendations are provided.
New Mexico was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. In addition, the state noted that it allows districts to use NMTEACH effectiveness ratings to "flex" their teachers outside of the teacher's endorsed expertise area. According to the state, this allows districts to place effective or better teachers by using objective evaluation ratings.
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.