2017 General Teacher Prep Programs Policy
The state should help to make licenses fully portable among states for effective teachers, with appropriate safeguards. The bar for this goal was raised in 2017.
Eligibility for Standard License: New York allows out-of-state teachers to be eligible for its initial certificate, if they have three years of experience within five years of the application date.
Evidence of Effectiveness: New York requires out-of-state teachers to submit proof of effective or highly effective evaluation ratings for each of the three most recent years of experience.
Testing Requirement: New York does not require out-of-state teachers to meet its own testing standards.
Additional Requirements: New York requires out-of-state teachers to earn at least a 2.5 GPA and complete several workshops in areas such as child abuse identification and school violence prevention. According to New York's reciprocity requirements, the state "cannot determine eligibility for certification until an application has been submitted, and a review of your credentials has been completed." Transcripts are required for all candidates. States that reach a determination about an applicant's licensure status on the basis of the course titles listed on the applicant's transcript may end up mistakenly equating the amount of required coursework with the teacher's qualifications.
New York also requires a criminal background check.
Commissioner’s Regulations Section 80-5.8 https://govt.westlaw.com/nycrr/Document/I364d38dbc22211ddb29d8bee567fca9f?viewType=FullText& originationContext=documenttoc&transitionType=CategoryPageItem&contextData=(sc.Default) Pathway: Endorsement of a Classroom Teaching Certificate http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/certificate/teachrecotherendorsement.html#ClassroomEndorse
To uphold standards, require that teachers coming from other states meet testing requirements.
New York should insist that out-of-state teachers meet its own testing requirements, and it should not waive its teacher testing requirements unless an applicant can provide evidence of a passing score that meets its own standards. By continuing to allow testing waivers, New York cannot ensure that teachers who have passed assessments in other states have met comparable content-knowledge expectations.
Offer a standard license to certified out-of-state teachers, absent unnecessary requirements.
New York's policy regarding submission of transcripts would appear to imply that, lacking a clear match with New York's own professional requirements, the teacher would have to begin anew, repeating some, most or all of a preparation program in New York. State policies that discriminate against teachers who were prepared in an alternate route are not supported by evidence. In fact, a substantial body of research has failed to discern differences in effectiveness between alternate and traditional route teachers.
New York should also reconsider its recency requirement regarding experience, as it may deter talented teachers from applying for certification. The state should ensure that its experience requirement does not preclude fully certified alternate route teachers who have completed their preparation from obtaining reciprocal licensure. For example, certified Teach For America teachers who have fulfilled their two-year commitment in other states should be eligible for licensure in New York.
New York was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. The state added that when candidates apply for certification through individual evaluation and have their transcripts reviewed, it determines whether they satisfied the education requirements based on the content of the courses, rather than the titles of the courses, as outlined in section 80-3.7 of the Commissioner's Regulations.
6A: Requirements for Out-of-State Teachers
Evidence of effectiveness is far more important than transcript review. In an attempt to ensure that teachers have the appropriate professional and subject-matter knowledge base when granting certification, states often review a teacher's college transcript, no matter how many years earlier a bachelor's degree was earned. A state certification specialist reviews the college transcript, looking for course titles that appear to match state requirements. If the right matches are not found, a teacher may be required to complete additional coursework before receiving standard licensure. This practice holds true even for experienced teachers who are trying to transfer from another state, regardless of their prior success. The application of these often complex state rules results in unnecessary obstacles to hiring talented and experienced teachers. New evaluation systems coming on line across the country which prioritize effectiveness and evidence of student learning offer an opportunity to bypass counterproductive efforts like transcript review and get to the heart of the matter: is the out-of-state teacher seeking licensure in a new state an effective teacher?
Testing requirements should be upheld, not waived. While some states have historically imposed burdensome coursework requirements, many have simultaneously failed to impose minimum standards for licensure testing. Instead, some states have offered waivers to veteran teachers transferring from other states, thereby failing to impose minimal standards of professional and subject-matter knowledge. In upholding licensure standards for out-of-state teachers, the state should be flexible in its processes but vigilant in its verification of adequate knowledge. It is all too common for states to develop policies and practices that reverse these priorities, focusing diligently on comparison of transcripts to state documents while demonstrating little oversight of teachers' knowledge. If a state can verify that a teacher has taught successfully and has the required subject-matter and professional knowledge, its only concern should be ensuring that the teacher is familiar with the state's student learning standards.
States licensing out-of-state teachers should not differentiate between experienced teachers prepared in alternate routes and those prepared in traditional programs. It is understandable that states are wary of accepting alternate route teachers from other states, since programs vary widely in quality. However, the same variance in quality can be found in traditional programs. If a teacher comes from another state with a standard license and a clean criminal record, has demonstrated evidence of effectiveness, and can pass the state's licensure tests, whether the preparation was traditional or alternative should be irrelevant.