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: Wyoming allows new teachers who have not met licensure requirements to teach under an "exception authorization." This authorization is issued in emergency situations to individuals who, due to extenuating circumstances, cannot meet the requirements for full licensure. However, the state requires that only elementary education and social studies composite teachers pass a subject-matter test before obtaining an initial license.
Emergency License Validity Period: Wyoming's exception authorization is only valid for one year and allows the individual to teach while completing the requirements.
Wyoming Professional Teacher Standards Board Exception Authorization http://ptsb.state.wy.us/Licensure/TypesofLicensure/ExceptionAuthorization/tabid/90/Default.aspx Complete Requirements for Initial Licensure in Wyoming http://ptsb.state.wy.us/Licesnure/BecomingLicensed/CompleteRequirementsforInitialLicensure/tabid/170/Default.aspx
Award standard licenses to teachers only after they have passed all required subject-matter licensing tests.
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, because it enables adults who may not be able to meet minimal state standards to earn teaching licenses. 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. As such, Wyoming's current policy should require all teachers—not just elementary and social studies teacher candidates—to pass subject-matter tests prior to entering the classroom. By allowing one-year, nonrenewable exception authorizations for teachers who have not met these requirements, the state's current policy puts students at risk.
Wyoming 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.