Opinion
Education Opinion

Should Teachers Be Licensed?

By Walt Gardner — December 01, 2017 1 min read

If a new proposal gains traction, public school teachers may no longer need to be licensed in order to teach. I thought of that after reading how “more than ever, the government requires Americans to get permission to earn a living” (“Licenses to Kill Opportunity,” The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 25).

Although the cited editorial refers strictly to 102 lower-income professions across the country identified by the Institute for Justice, I see relevance to the teaching profession. Charter schools want to license their teachers rather than let the states in which they operate do so. Proponents assert that the No. 1 reason state licensing exists is because guild members sit on state licensing boards. Their goal is to limit competition.

Perhaps that is the case in some fields, but I submit that it does not apply to teaching. Traditional public schools by law must enroll virtually all who show up at their doors regardless of ability or motivation. To suggest that college graduates who are well versed in their subject matter field alone can be effective is unrealistic. Private schools and religious schools are allowed to hire unlicensed teachers who quite often are successful. But that’s because the students who are enrolled have chosen to be there. As a result, discipline is not nearly as difficult as in traditional public schools.

Charter schools are public schools, but they operate by a completely different set of rules than traditional public schools. Therefore, I think that allowing them to dilute the requirements for their teachers will prove to be counterproductive in the long run. Licensing exists for a good reason. I maintain that the best college professors who are experts in their field of specialization would have a difficult time teaching in a traditional public school. What works in higher education does not work in K-12.

The opinions expressed in Walt Gardner’s Reality Check are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools
Elementary Teacher - Scholars Academy
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read