The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching.
Vermont allows teachers who have not met licensure requirements to teach under a two-year provisional license if local superintendents cannot find a qualified applicant for a position. Applicants must either be licensed in another state, possess an expired Vermont teaching license, have a major in their teaching field or have passed a content assessment in their teaching field.
The state also allows superintendents who cannot find a qualified applicant for a teaching position to apply for a nonrenewable, one-year emergency license for an individual who holds a bachelor's degree.
Vermont Standards Board for Professional Educators 5351 and 5360-5364 http://education.vermont.gov/new/pdfdoc/pgm_prostandards/vsbpe/rules/educ_5100_licensing_regulations.pdf#page=10
Ensure that all teachers pass required subject-matter licensing tests before they enter the classroom.
All students are entitled to teachers who know the subject matter they are teaching. Permitting individuals who have not yet passed state licensing tests to teach neglects the needs of students, instead extending personal consideration to adults who may not be able to meet minimal state standards. Even though all four of Vermont's provisional license requirements ensure at least some level of content-knowledge, the state should require that all teachers pass licensing tests—an important minimum benchmark for entering the profession—before entering the classroom.
Limit exceptions to one year.
There might be limited and exceptional circumstances under which conditional or emergency licenses need to be granted. In these instances, it is reasonable for a state to give teachers up to one year to pass required licensing tests. Vermont's current policy puts students at risk by allowing teachers to teach on a provisional license for two years without passing required licensing tests.
Vermont recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
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).