2017 General Teacher Prep Programs Policy
The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching. This goal was consistent between 2015 and 2017.
Emergency License(s) Availability: West Virginia requires that all new teachers pass all required subject-matter tests as a condition of initial licensure.
However, West Virginia allows teachers who hold a valid certificate from another state to teach on a temporary certificate even if they have not met the state's licensure requirements, which include subject-matter testing.
Emergency License Validity Period: West Virginia's temporary certificate is valid for one year and is nonrenewable.
West Virginia Board Policy 5202 Section 10.1.a
Ensure that all teachers—including out of state teachers—meet West Virginia's subject-matter licensing standards.
Allowing out-of-state teachers who have not passed licensure tests to remain in the classroom for up to three years neglects the needs of students. 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 West Virginia's standards, such as an elementary content test that requires a passing score on each content core subject (see Goal 6-A: Requirements for Out-of-State Teachers analysis and recommendations).
West Virginia recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
6B: Provisional and Emergency Licensure
Teachers who have not passed content licensing tests place students at risk. While states may need a regulatory basis for filling classroom positions with a few people who do not hold full teaching credentials, many of the regulations permitting this put the instructional needs of children at risk, often year after year. For example, schools can make liberal use of provisional certificates or waivers provided by the state if they fill classroom positions with instructors who have completed a teacher preparation program but have not passed their state licensing tests. These allowances are permitted for up to three years in some states. The unfortunate consequence is that students' needs are neglected in an effort to extend personal consideration to adults who cannot meet minimum state standards.
While some flexibility may be necessary because licensing tests are not always administered with the needed frequency, making provisional certificates and waivers available year after year could signal that the state does not put much value on its licensing standards or what they represent. States accordingly need to ensure that all persons given full charge of children's learning are required to pass the relevant licensing tests in their first year of teaching, ideally before they enter the classroom. Licensing tests are an important minimum benchmark in the profession, and states that allow teachers to postpone passing these tests are abandoning one of the basic responsibilities of licensure.