Part Time Teaching Licenses: New York

2011 Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should offer a license with minimal requirements that allows content experts to teach part time.

Meets a small part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Part Time Teaching Licenses: New York results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/NY-Part-Time-Teaching-Licenses-7

Analysis of New York's policies

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.

Citation

Recommendations for New York

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.

State response to our analysis

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.

Last word

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.

How we graded

Part-time licenses can help alleviate severe shortages, especially in STEM subjects.  

Some of the subject areas in which states face the greatest teacher shortages are also areas that require the deepest subject-matter expertise.  Staffing shortages are further exacerbated because schools or districts may not have high enough enrollments to necessitate full-time positions.  Part-time licenses can be a creative mechanism to get content experts to teach a limited number of courses.  Of course, a fully licensed teacher is best, but when that isn't an option, a part-time license allows students to benefit from content experts—individuals who are not interested in a full-time teaching position and are thus unlikely to pursue traditional or alternative certification.  States should limit licensure requirements to those that verify subject-matter knowledge and address public safety, such as background checks.

Research rationale

The origin of this goal is the effort to find creative solutions to the STEM crisis. While teaching waivers are not typically used this way, teaching waivers could be used to allow competent professionals from outside of education to be hired as part-time instructors to teach courses such as Advanced Placement chemistry or calculus as long as the instructor demonstrates content knowledge on a rigorous test. See NCTQ, "Tackling the STEM Crisis" at: http://www.nctq.org/p/docs/nctq_nmsi_stem_initiative.pdf

For the importance of teachers' general academic ability, see R. Ferguson, "Paying for Public Education: New Evidence on How and Why Money Matters," Harvard Journal on Legislation 28 (1991), 465-498.

For more on math and science content knowledge, see D. Monk and J.R. King, "Subject Area Preparation of Secondary Mathematics and Science Teachers and Student Achievement," Economics of Education Review 12, no. 2 (1994), 125-145; R. Murnane, "Understanding the Sources of Teaching Competence: Choices, Skills, and the Limits of Training," Teachers College Record 84, no. 3 (1983)