Keeping A Tennessee Teacher’s License May Become Harder

Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman says the board would gradually phase in the higher Praxis scores over the next decade. Credit Gov. Bill Haslam's Flickr stream

Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman says the board would gradually phase in the higher Praxis scores over the next decade. Credit Gov. Bill Haslam’s Flickr stream

Tennessee’s School Board signaled last week it could soon get harder for the state’s teachers to stay licensed.  Under the proposal, those with years of bad evaluations or low test scores would see their licenses expire, and have to work for renewal.

The proposal would automatically renew licenses for good teachers.  But a new teacher steadily scoring at the bottom of the state’s 1-to-5 scale most years would eventually lapse, says Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman.

“If she wanted to come back into the classroom she would need to re-enroll in a licensure preparation program.  Go back into a program and if she improved then she would advance to a professional license at the end of that period of time.”

Huffman estimates the policy shift would stop renewal for up to a couple hundred teachers a year.  He also wants to raise cut scores for the Praxis, a test to show new teachers are qualified.  Over the next ten years the proposal is to push Tennessee’s required scores into the top third nationwide.  It passed its first of two required readings in a meeting Friday.

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