The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching. This goal was consistent between 2015 and 2017.
Emergency License(s) Availability: Texas allows teachers to teach under an emergency permit.
Emergency License Validity Period: Texas's emergency permit is valid for up to one year, and may be renewed for up to one additional year if the emergency permit was used for fewer than 90 calendar days. Test requirements and 7-12 semester hours plus test are required for renewal. The emergency permit can be extended without meeting these renewal requirements if the superintendent receives hardship approval.
Texas Administrative Code 230.71 through 230.81
Ensure that all teachers pass required subject-matter licensing tests before they enter the classroom.
Although Texas's policy of requiring that the permit be used for fewer than 90 calendar days and requiring tests to be passed before the emergency permit can be renewed minimizes the risks inherent in having teachers in classrooms who lack appropriate subject-matter knowledge; the state could strengthen its policy by requiring all teachers to meet subject-matter licensure requirements prior to entering the classroom.
Texas recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. In addition, the state noted that, effective with the 2017-2018 school year, the employment of an individual on an emergency permit may not exceed one school year with the exception of permits issued to serve in the role of Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps instructor or a teacher of students with visual impairments.
6B: Provisional and Emergency Licensure
Teachers who have not passed content licensing tests place students at risk. While states may need a regulatory basis for filling classroom positions with a few people who do not hold full teaching credentials, many of the regulations permitting this put the instructional needs of children at risk, often year after year. For example, schools can make liberal use of provisional certificates or waivers provided by the state if they fill classroom positions with instructors who have completed a teacher preparation program but have not passed their state licensing tests. These allowances are permitted for up to three years in some states. The unfortunate consequence is that students' needs are neglected in an effort to extend personal consideration to adults who cannot meet minimum state standards.
While some flexibility may be necessary because licensing tests are not always administered with the needed frequency, making provisional certificates and waivers available year after year could signal that the state does not put much value on its licensing standards or what they represent. States accordingly need to ensure that all persons given full charge of children's learning are required to pass the relevant licensing tests in their first year of teaching, ideally before they enter the classroom. Licensing tests are an important minimum benchmark in the profession, and states that allow teachers to postpone passing these tests are abandoning one of the basic responsibilities of licensure.