The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching.
Oklahoma allows teachers who have not met licensure requirements to teach under an emergency certificate—expiring June 30th of the school year for which it was issued—making it normally valid for one school year.
A school district may hire an individual meeting minimum standards — a bachelor's degree and academic preparation in the desired subject area — only after efforts to hire a certificated teacher have been exhausted. In addition, verification that the applicant has either passed the requested subject area test or is registered for the next available test date is required.
Oklahoma Statutes 70-6-187 Emergency Certification http://sde.state.ok.us/teacher/profstand/pdf/EmergCert.pdf OAR 210:20-9-94
Ensure that all teachers pass required subject-matter licensing tests before they enter the classroom.
While Oklahoma's policy minimizes the risks brought about by having teachers in classrooms who lack sufficient or appropriate subject-matter knowledge by offering its emergency certificate for one year only, the state could take its policy a step further and require all teachers to meet subject-matter licensure requirements prior to entering the classroom.
Oklahoma was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. The state also noted that emergency certificates may not be renewed and that all testing and course requirements must be met before full certification is issued.
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).