Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy
The state should offer a license with minimal requirements that allows content experts to teach part time.
New York offers a Visiting Lecturer license with minimal requirements, although it is unclear whether the license was designed to be used part time.
According to state requirements, "at the request of a superintendent of schools, a license may be issued to an individual who has unusual qualifications in a specific subject." The Visiting Lecturer License is designed to supplement the regular program of instruction.
The state does not provide additional guidelines for obtaining a Visiting Lecturer License.
Offer a license that allows content experts to serve as part-time instructors.
It is unclear whether the Visiting Lecturer License serves as a vehicle for individuals with deep subject-area knowledge to teach a limited number of courses without fulfilling a complete set of certification requirements. It appears that this may be the intent of the license; however, state policy does not describe the conditions of employment, whether it is for part-time or full-time teaching or requirements that candidates must fulfill.
Require applicants to pass a subject-matter test.
Although this license is designed to enable distinguished individuals to teach, New York should still require a subject-matter test. While documentation provided by the applicant may show evidence of expertise in a particular field, only a subject-matter test ensures that Visiting Lecturer teachers know the specific content they will need to teach.
New York recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that in February and April of 2011, the Board of Regents discussed a proposal for a new alternate route to teacher certification, Transitional-G. This route creates an expedited pathway for subject matter experts, specifically individuals with advanced degrees in STEM, and related teaching experience at the postsecondary level, to become certified high school teachers in mathematics, one of the sciences or a closely related academic subject area. Adoption of these regulations is anticipated in 2011.
New York is commended for creating a new expedited pathway for STEM experts. Transitional G is a path to full certification. This goal recommends an even more expedited way to allow such experts to teach on a part-time basis. This may be particularly useful for small districts that may not have high enough enrollment to necessitate a full-time position in certain subject areas.