Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy
The state should offer a license with minimal requirements that allows content experts to teach part time.
Utah offers the Eminence Letter of Authorization as a part-time license. The Eminence Authorization is designed to allow individuals with exceptional training or expertise to teach on a limited basis. Candidates under this license may not teach more than 37 percent of the regular instructional load.
The state requires documentation of exceptional training, skills or expertise but does not specify the evidence necessary to meet such requirements. Applicants must also pass a background check.
Utah Rules R277-520-6
Require applicants to pass a subject-matter test.
Utah 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, Utah should still require a subject-matter test. While the state does require documentation of expertise and skills, only a subject-matter test ensures that teachers on the Eminence Letter of Authorization know the specific content they will need to teach.
Utah was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis.
Utah also stated that in addition to the Eminence Letter of Authorization route, the School District/Charter School Specific Competency-based License should be considered under this goal. This license allows a teacher to provide instruction to a specific Utah district based on the teacher's expertise. If the license is for an NCLB subject area, the individual must pass the appropriate content test in order to receive licensure.
While Utah is commended for the flexibility that the School District/Charter School Specific Competency-based License affords districts, it does not meet the intent of this goal, which is to allow a content expert to teach part-time. Under this license there is no indication that an individual is working on a part-time basis: "an educator who has not completed the traditional licensing process...teaches one or more core academic subjects."