Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy
The state should offer a license with minimal requirements that allows content experts to teach part time.
Wisconsin offers a License Based on Equivalency and a Professional Teaching Permit. The License Based on Equivalency pathway is for individuals with three years of teaching experience who are unlicensed private school teachers, postsecondary teachers, candidates who have completed an alternative route preparation program outside of the state or candidates with three years of industry teaching experience. Experience combined with a performance-based assessment process will be used to determine candidate competency in the Wisconsin educator standards.
The Professional Teaching Permit may be issued to individuals with a bachelor's degree in engineering, music, art, foreign language, computer science, mathematics or science. The applicant must have at least five years of experience as a professional in the degree subject area and are required to demonstrate subject-area competency. Individuals are issued this permit for a two-year period and must enroll in a 100-hour alternative teacher training program.
License Based on Equivalency Pathway http://tepdl.dpi.wi.gov/licensing/license-based-on-equivalency-pathway Wisconsin PI 34.34(11) Wisconsin Statutes 118.192(2)
Offer a license that allows content experts to serve as part-time instructors.
It is unclear whether the License Based on Equivalency or the Professional Teaching Permit serves as a vehicle for individuals with deep subject-area knowledge to teach a limited number of courses without fulfilling a complete set of certification requirements. It appears that may be the intent of these licenses; however, state policy does not describe the conditions of employment, whether it is for part-time or full-time teaching or requirements that candidates must fulfill.
Require applicants to pass a subject-matter test.
Wisconsin should consider requiring applicants for the License Based on Equivalency and the Professional Teaching Permit to pass a content knowledge test. Applicants should be experts in the area they plan to teach and therefore should be able to demonstrate this on an exam.
Wisconsin was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis.
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.
Part-Time Teaching Licenses: Supporting Research
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: Five steps your state can take to improve the quality and quantity of its K-12 math and science teachers", 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,Volume 28, Summer 1991, pp. 465-498.
For more on math and science content knowledge, see D. Monk, "Subject Area Preparation of Secondary Mathematics and Science Teachers and Student Achievement," Economics of Education Review, Volume 13, No. 2, June 1994, pp. 125-145; R. Murnane, "Understanding the Sources of Teaching Competence: Choices, Skills, and the Limits of Training," Teachers College Record, Volume 84, No. 3, 1983, pp. 564-569.