News: Quick Takes

BOE wants more time before making decision on out-of-state teachers

The State Board of Education isn’t ready to commit to making it easier for out-of-state teachers to work in North Carolina.

Board members Feb. 6 and Feb. 7 heard a presentation from the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission on recommendations to ease state licensing reciprocity. The proposal would allow licensed out-of-state teachers with three or more years’ teaching experience to teach in North Carolina, as long as they have met their state’s testing requirements.

The education board decided not to vote on the recommendations and instead sent the recommendations back to PEPSC for further review. As EdNC reports, members of the board were concerned the exams and standards of other states weren’t at the same level as North Carolina. The board members wanted more research into how those standards matched up.

North Carolina only accepts out-of-state teachers who have taken tests identical to those required in North Carolina. Out-of-state teachers who are fully licensed in their state, have three or more years of experience, and meet SBE’s teaching requirements or have National Board Certification can receive a Professional Educator’s Continuing License. This type of license is valid for five years. Out-of-state elementary teachers also have to take additional mathematics and reading subtests.

Terry Stoops, vice president of research and director of education studies, said it would make sense to streamline the licensing process to reduce the regulatory obstacles for out-of-state teachers.

“There may be applicants who are discouraged from North Carolina because the requirements are onerous, but we don’t actually know if our requirements are a deterrent,” Stoops said. “Still, I think we should give them the opportunity to make it as easy as possible to come to North Carolina and try for a position.”

The changes would make it easier for out-of-state teachers to become licensed in the state, which may help school districts address vacancies. A report shared during the February monthly SBE meeting shows North Carolina’s public elementary schools are struggling the most to fill teacher vacancies in core subjects. The highest vacancies are for elementary teachers for exceptional children, middle school math teachers, and high school CTE teachers.