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: The District of Columbia allows out-of-state teachers with two years of experience to be eligible for its standard certificate.
Evidence of Effectiveness: The District of Columbia requires out-of-state teachers to submit proof of two years of effective teaching experience, as measured by an overall evaluation rating based upon the student growth component of an evaluation rating. The experience must be within five years of the application, and the final year must show a rating of effective or higher.
Testing Requirement: The District of Columbia accepts content test scores from the previous state for teachers who hold valid out-of-state credentials. Teachers who did not pass appropriate licensure tests in their originating states must pass the District of Columbia's adopted assessments to obtain full licensure.
Additional Requirements: The District of Columbia requires a criminal-history background check.
Credentials for Teachers and School Administrators 1601.9 http://www.dcregs.dc.gov/Gateway/RuleHome.aspx?RuleID=293442
To uphold standards, require that teachers coming from other states meet testing requirements.
The District of Columbia 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. This is especially important when it comes to out-of-state teachers who have passed content tests that do not rise to the level of the District of Columbia's standard, such as an elementary content test that requires a passing score on each content core subject. (See 2A: Elementary Content Knowledge analysis and recommendations.)
The District of Columbia was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis. The District of Columbia added that it is a signer on the NASDTEC interstate reciprocity agreement and continues to accept licenses of candidates entering the state from other member jurisdictions. Specifically, the new District of Columbia teacher licensure regulations allow the District educational agency to recognize and accept all valid out-of-District credentials presented for licensure as well as the acceptance of all equivalent licensure exams. Equivalent licensure exams include any basic skills, content-knowledge, and pedagogy exams completed by the out-of-District educator that qualified them for credentials from the issuing state.
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.