New Models for State Licensing of Professional Educators
Scannell, Marilyn, Wain, Judith, Phi Delta Kappan
The Minnesota Board of Teaching and the Indiana Professional Standards Board offer two models of professional state licensing agencies whose characteristics differ in many ways. Yet the two have embarked on remarkably similar paths to reform the preparation and licensure of professional educators in their states.
The concept of self-governance is taken for granted in many professions. States have delegated the responsibilities of developing and enforcing standards to standards boards made up of members of the profession. Although such authority is common in many professions, it is the exception in education. In most states, educators have not even been part of the policy-making discussion on setting standards for their profession. Rather, the authority for setting standards for teacher preparation and licensing and for governing the practice of the profession has historically resided with other bodies, such as state legislatures, state boards of education, or state departments of education. Educators have then been held accountable for standards developed and enforced by others, who often view teaching as semiskilled work. In many cases, those who set licensing policies are still ambivalent about whether there is a knowledge base for teaching or whether teacher preparation makes a difference, even though research clearly demonstrates that those who complete such preparation are more effective teachers.(1)
Since 1970, 12 states (California, Oregon, Minnesota, Nevada, Iowa, Kentucky, Georgia, Indiana, Wyoming, West Virginia, North Dakota, and Hawaii) have created autonomous boards that are directly accountable to legislatures to control standards and practice for education professionals. Three of the states - California, Oregon, and Minnesota - created these boards in the early 1970s. Six boards were created during the past six years. In the 12 states, state policy makers have granted to educators the same authority as has been granted to other professional licensing boards to establish standards that govern preparation for and practice of their profession. These boards are composed primarily of members of the profession who are appointed by the governor. Generally, they have the authority to set standards for licensure; set fees for licenses; issue, renew, and revoke licenses; monitor ethics/professional practices; and approve teacher education programs.(2)
The state professional standards boards for educators are working to achieve many goals, including the establishment of rigorous academic and professional requirements that prospective educators must meet in order to …
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Publication information: Article title: New Models for State Licensing of Professional Educators. Contributors: Scannell, Marilyn - Author, Wain, Judith - Author. Journal title: Phi Delta Kappan. Volume: 78. Issue: 3 Publication date: November 1996. Page number: 211+. © 1999 Phi Delta Kappa, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1996 Gale Group.