Reciprocity of teaching credentials has been a low priority in many states. Over time many states created some reciprocity allowing teachers new to the state to avoid lengthily and costly re-certification efforts. With the rapid growth of online learning, reciprocity is not just an issue for teachers that move, it’s an issue for every online teacher.
Evergreen Education Group recently released Teaching Across State Lines, a report examining the growing issue faced by teachers who teach online in multiple states. The report concludes that the patchwork on alternative certification and reciprocity is inadequate to handle rapidly expanding full and part time online learning. The report proposes a solution, in which online teachers would be licensed to teach in multiple states if they meet two requirements:
- Demonstrate that they are licensed and highly qualified in any state, and
- Demonstrate expertise in teaching online via either of two methods:
- They have taken and passed a professional development course in teaching online by an approved provider, which includes a course specific to teaching in an online environment offered by universities, regional education agencies, or national providers of accredited programs, or
- They have successfully taught in an accredited online program for at least three years.
This solution would allow licensed teachers to more easily teach in multiple states while augmenting online teacher skills.
As states and district consider expanding part time online learning (see Leading in an Era of Change: Making the Most of State Course Access Programs) they should also consider strategies to develop and expand access to quality teachers.
The Evergreen suggestions in this report are useful next steps but prep should become competency-based with multiple pathways as we mention in “Preparing Teachers for Deeper Learning“.