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PEPSC revisits plan to ease requirements for out-of-state teachers

The Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) recommended additional safeguards to send to the State Board of Education on a planned policy that would make it easier for out-of-state teachers to get licensed in North Carolina. 

PEPSC initially recommended a plan that would allow licensed out-of-state applicants with three or more years of teaching experience in another state who have met that state’s testing requirements to start teaching in North Carolina. That is a change from current policy, which essentially requires an out-of-state teacher to come from a state that has licensing exams identical to North Carolina.

The State Board was slated to vote on the new policy this month but punted the plan back to PEPSC over concerns that it would weaken North Carolina’s standards for teachers.

“There was much discussion about allowing tests from other states, and there are decidedly many perspectives to this issue, and the Board felt like even the perception of lowering the standards for teachers put them in a difficult position,” Tom Tomberlin, director of District Human Resources at the State Department of Public Instruction, explained to Commission members. 

To address these concerns, Tomberlin suggested that PEPSC recommend monitoring out-of-state teachers for how effective they are once they come into the state. If a disproportionate number of teachers from any one state prove to be ineffective, then that state’s licensing process could be eliminated from the policy.

PEPSC also decided to recommend moving up the effective date of the new policy. It was planned to start July 1, 2019 but instead would begin immediately once the State Board has voted for approval.

“We think that’s a very good compromise,” said commission member Glenda Jones, assistant superintendent of Cabarrus County Schools.

Both Tomberlin and Jones stressed that it was important to act fast due to the time of year. 

“We’re getting up against the recruiting season and the end of the academic year, so we need to make sure that we move this forward with the Board as soon as possible,” Tomberlin said.

The issue will go back before the State Board in March.

Alex Granados

Alex Granados is senior reporter for EducationNC.