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PEPSC Approves Recommendation For State Board Of Education To Expedite Change In Teacher Licensure Requirement

This afternoon, the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) held an emergency meeting to approve a teacher licensure change to recommend for State Board of Education adoption at its next meeting on July 5.

The proposed change applies to teachers holding an Initial Professional License (IPL) who have not met their mandatory testing requirements during their first two years of employment – including those who have not yet attempted their tests and those who have attempted and not yet passed the tests – as required under current State Board policy and a state law passed in 2017.  Many of these same teachers already hold a three-year initial license, as allowable under the law and policy, giving them additional employment eligibility even though their testing requirements have not been met. This leaves a gap in which the ILP license and testing cycle for teachers is out of sync. The gap is creating hardships for districts statewide that want and need to hire these teachers for next school year while they work to complete their testing requirements to achieve Continuing Professional Licensure status and eligibility for ongoing employment. Reportedly, more than 500 teachers in 30 districts responding to a recent survey from the Personnel Administrators of North Carolina would be caught in this gap, with roughly 200 of those in Wake County.

Under the PEPSC proposal, which does not apply to lateral entry teachers, the State Board would create a work-around for this gap by adjusting the proficiency requirements for ILP teachers and thereby making them eligible for another year of employment even if their testing requirements are not yet met. The proposed policy would redefine proficiency “as achieving a rating of proficient, or higher, on three of the five standards of the NC Educator Evaluation System (NCEES), provided that the standard related to pedagogy (Standard IV in NCEES) is rated at the level of proficient, or higher. Teachers on an abbreviated evaluation plan must achieve a rating of proficient, or higher, on the standard related to pedagogy in order to be deemed ‘proficient’.”

ILP teachers chosen for employment under this path would have to be approved by the LEAs based on their classroom effectiveness, as determined by the LEA, which many school leaders statewide believe is a better predictor of teaching skills than many of the mandatory testing requirements tied to licensure.

This stop-gap policy change, if ultimately approved by the State Board of Education, will give ILP teachers more time to complete their testing requirements, while assisting districts in hiring the teachers they need in July and August for the 2018-19 school year. Members of PEPSC worked with the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to craft this policy proposal that creates a new pathway for keeping needed ILP teachers in classrooms across the state.

Click here to view the full policy as approved by PEPSC and now moving forward for SBE consideration.