Politics & Government

Automatically license teachers from out-of-state? Not so fast, NC school board says.

A teacher writes the schedule for the day on her blackboard.
A teacher writes the schedule for the day on her blackboard. News & Observer file photo

Despite the need for more out-of-state teachers, some North Carolina education leaders say they don’t want to just let anyone in the classroom — even if they’re licensed in another state.

The State Board of Education on Wednesday rejected a recommendation from an advisory committee to automatically grant North Carolina teaching licenses to fully licensed teachers from other states. Board members expressed concern that the proposal could result in teachers being hired from states with lower standards than North Carolina.

The state board also directed the N.C. Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission to come up with recommendations on how out-of-state teachers can demonstrate within one year that they’re meeting standards to get a license.

Despite the vote, the board’s hand could be forced by state lawmakers. Senate Bill 219, filed this week, would direct the state board to grant licenses to licensed teachers from other states.

“My only surprise about this legislation is that it was only introduced yesterday,” said state board member J.B. Buxton. “The legislature is going to have to do its process on what it believes teacher quality should look like in North Carolina, and we’ve got to do ours.”

North Carolina superintendents and principals are worried about getting enough teachers in the face of an aging workforce and less interest in college students to enter the profession. One option is to recruit more teachers from other states.

Currently, out-of-state teachers can get licensed in North Carolina without going through any additional hurdles if they passed licensure exams in other states that are identical to what this state uses.

State board policy also now says that a license will be granted if the out-of-state test is comparable to what North Carolina uses. But state Department of Public Instruction staff say they don’t have the manpower or knowledge to determine what’s comparable.

Tom Tomberlin, DPI director of educator recruitment and support, presented a proposal Wednesday of granting licenses to out-of-states based on where they went to college.

Under the proposal, DPI would look at the SAS EVAAS scores of teachers who came from out-of-state colleges to see if they’re above the state’s average score. The EVAAS scores are based on the performance of a teacher’s students on state tests.

If a licensed out-of-state applicant attended a college with higher-than-average EVAAS scores, Tomberlin said the state could grant a license without requiring any additional testing.

As part of the board’s motion on Wednesday, they said the advisory committee could consider the DPI proposal.

Related stories from Durham Herald Sun

  Comments