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: New Mexico allows middle and secondary teachers to teach under endorsement waivers in the areas of mathematics, language arts, science, and social studies, provided evidence is presented of emergency circumstances and recruitment efforts to fill the position. A request for an endorsement waiver must include a plan indicating how the candidate will meet the requirements for the endorsement area and complete at least nine credit hours per year.
Emergency License Validity Period: The validity period of an endorsement waiver is one year and can be renewed, "if evidence of enrollment in or pending completion of required coursework and testing requirements is provided." It is unclear how many renewals are permitted.
COVID-19 State Policy: New Mexico has implemented the following changes to its rules regarding Provisional and Emergency Licensure. Educator candidates completing traditional preparation programs who are unable to take licensure tests will be issued a 1CS license, allowing them time to complete the tests. 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.
New Mexico Administrative Code 6.61.2, -.3, -.4, -.9 COVID-19 Information: https://webnew.ped.state.nm.us/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/updates-through-5-7.docx
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. New Mexico 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. New Mexico's current policy puts students at risk by allowing teachers to teach on an endorsement waiver without passing required licensing tests.
New Mexico 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.