Teaching Profession

New York Eases Licensing Rules for Out-of-State Teachers

By Emmanuel Felton — July 15, 2016 1 min read
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In a move that state officials hope will alleviate teacher shortages, the New York State Board of Regents has adopted new rules to make it easier for out-of-state teachers to obtain teaching licenses. The state will drop the requirement that educators who are certified in other states pass New York’s certification exams.

In a statement released after the Monday vote, officials said they hoped the move would help districts fill positions in tough-to-staff subject areas and communities.

“Too many communities are unable to find qualified candidates to teach their students and run their schools and school districts,” said MaryEllen Elia, the state’s education commissioner. “The rules adopted by the Regents today will help ease New York’s teacher shortage while upholding the highest standards for entry into the profession.”

Only out-of-state educators with at least three years of teaching experience will be eligible. Additionally, they must hold a bachelor’s degree and have earned a 2.5 cumulative GPA or higher in that program. The rules also require candidates to complete trainings on topics such as identifying and reporting child abuse and preventing bullying.

The Times Union reports that some in the state blame teacher shortages on an overhaul of the certification process put into place by U.S. Secretary of Education John King during his time as the state’s education commissioner. The state has been in the process of adopting a tougher teacher certification process since 2009. All teaching candidates were supposed to have passed a new performance-based test called the edTPA by May 2013, but after four delays that has been pushed back to June 2017.

It isn’t entirely clear that these changes had any effect on teacher shortages. As Ross Brenneman reported for Education Week Teacher last year, New York state wasn’t experiencing teacher shortages in core subject areas, though as in many states, districts struggled to hire specialty positions like bilingual educators.

The Board of Regents vote comes a little over a week after a Minnesota judge held that state’s board in charge of teacher licensing in contempt for ignoring a state law that requires it to run a program for experienced out-of-state educators.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.