Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy
The state should help to make licenses fully portable among states, with appropriate safeguards.
Pennsylvania does not support licensure reciprocity for certified teachers from other states.
Commendably, Pennsylvania provides testing waivers only to teachers who have attained National Board Certification. All other out-of-state teachers, no matter how many years of experience they have, must meet Pennsylvania's passing scores on licensing tests.
However, other aspects of the state's policy create obstacles for teachers from other states seeking licensure in Pennsylvania. Teachers with comparable out-of-state certificates may be eligible for Pennsylvania's Level I Certificate. The state's new legislation allows out-of-state teachers to be eligible for comparable certification if the candidate has at least two years of successful classroom experience, in addition to holding a bachelor's degree; has demonstrated subject-matter competency in the applicable area; and has satisfied statutory requirements related to his or her criminal background check, medical history and good moral character.
Further, Pennsylvania routinely reviews the college transcripts of licensed out-of-state teachers, an exercise that often leads the state to require additional coursework before it will offer an equivalent license. States that reach a determination about an applicant's licensure status on the basis of the course titles listed on the applicant's transcript may end up mistakenly equating the amount of required coursework with the teacher's qualification.
Pennsylvania is also a participant in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement; however, the latest iteration of this agreement no longer purports to be a reciprocity agreement among states and thus is no longer included in this analysis.
Pennsylvania Code 22-49.171 http://pa.gov/portal/server.pt/community/out-of-state_prepared/8821 http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=507102&mode=2 http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/billinfo.cfm?syear=2011&sind=0&body=H&type=B&BN=1352
Offer a standard license to certified out-of-state teachers, absent unnecessary requirements.
Pennsylvania should reconsider its policy of transcript reviews. Transcript reviews are not a particularly meaningful or efficient exercise and are likely to result in additional coursework requirements, even for traditionally prepared teachers; alternate route teachers, on the other hand, may have to virtually begin anew, repeating some, most or all of a teacher preparation program in Pennsylvania.
Accord the same license to out-of-state alternate route teachers as would be accorded to traditionally prepared teachers.
Regardless of whether a teacher was prepared through a traditional or alternate route, all certified out-of-state teachers should receive equal treatment. State policies that discriminate against teachers who were prepared in an alternate route are not supported by evidence. In fact, a substantial body of research has failed to discern differences in effectiveness between alternate and traditional route teachers.
Pennsylvania was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis.