A recent report from the National Council on Teacher Quality finds 35 states don’t request proof of prior teaching success during the out-of-state teacher certification process and seven states don’t require criminal background checks on teachers transferring in from another state.
But the NCTQ infers states do impose many other demands and make the requirements for teachers to transfer to new states unnecessarily difficult. The report cites 14 states that require out-of-state applicants to take additional coursework with no option to test out and 19 that make it harder for out-of-state applicants to become licensed if their education came from a non-traditional degree program.
Four states require teachers to prove prior teaching effectiveness with objective measures of student growth. The NCTQ recommends states require teachers to demonstrate prior success but also eliminate unnecessary barriers to out-of-state teachers transferring to new states.
The NCTQ’s ongoing Teacher Prep Review project measures both traditional and alternative teacher preparation programs, but some of the organization’s methods have been criticized in both K-12 and higher education circles.
But the muddled process teachers must navigate to transfer between states makes even less sense given the chronic teacher shortages districts in many states face. The often arduous process of taking additional classes to teach in a new state is both an expensive out-of-pocket cost and time-consuming. These teachers — who already have credentials in other states — are sidelined while they work through another credentialing process.
In California, researchers recommend easing restrictions that require additional testing and coursework for teachers from other states who want to transfer in. Some states, however, are using other methods to attract more teachers. Florida, for example, is considering a plan to bump up starting teacher pay from $37,636 to $47,500 a year in an effort to recruit would-be teachers who might otherwise find better-paying job opportunities in other fields.