Part Time Teaching Licenses: Texas

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.

Nearly meets
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Part Time Teaching Licenses: Texas results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/TX-Part-Time-Teaching-Licenses-7

Analysis of Texas's policies

Texas offers the Texas School District Teaching Permit, which allows individuals with deep subject-area knowledge to teach a limited number of courses without fulfilling a complete set of certification requirements.

Applicants for the Texas School District Teaching permit must have at least a bachelor's degree with relevant college coursework of at least 18 hours for elementary and middle school and 24 hours for high school. Candidates must also have relevant work experience. A subject test is not required.

Citation

Recommendations for Texas

Require applicants to pass a subject-matter test.
Texas is commended for offering a license that increases districts' flexibility to staff certain subjects, including many STEM areas, that are frequently hard to staff or may not have high enough enrollment to necessitate a full-time position. Although this license is designed to enable individuals who have significant content knowledge to teach, Texas should still require a subject-matter test. While the state does require verification, only a subject-matter test ensures that teachers on the School District Teaching Permit know the specific content they will need to teach.

State response to our analysis

Texas was helpful in providing the facts necessary for this analysis. The state added that it also offers waivers that allow individuals with subject knowledge to teach in public schools without fulfilling traditional certification requirements.

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)