Tougher Teacher’s License Renewal Raises Questions Over Exemption

State officials estimate the proposed licensure requirements would forestall renewals for up to 200 teachers a year. Credit KoS / Wikimedia

State officials estimate the proposed licensure requirements would forestall renewals for up to 200 teachers a year. Credit KoS / Wikimedia

The state school board is facing a tough question of when to allow an exception as it raises the bar on teachers renewing their licenses.  Tennessee’s board of education is putting off approval of the new rule until at least next month.

The idea is teachers scoring at the bottom of the state’s 1-to-5 scale shouldn’t be able to automatically renew their licenses without showing some effort to improve.  Failing that, their license to teach will eventually expire.  But some superintendents want the board to consider an appeals process for extenuating circumstances.

Board director Gary Nixon points for example to a solid teacher whose scores dipped in the midst of a fight with cancer.

“Undergoing chemo and different treatments, and her test scores kind of fell off for a year or two at the wrong time, and wanted to ask for another year or two extension on that, let her get over it, get well and get back on track.  Think she’s worth saving.”

The tougher rules could forestall licensure for up to a couple hundred teachers a year.  The board now expects to take up the matter at its August meeting.

 Common Core Affirmation

The state board of education is set to reaffirm its support today for the new Common Core standards now rolling out in dozens of states.  Common Core has skeptics from those who worry it makes classes too easy to others fearing it “nationalizes” Tennessee schools.

Board director Gary Nixon says the resolution is to show Tennessee is quote “not backing off an inch.”

“Just to reconfirm that the state board is, in light of folks who are not supportive, that the state board stands firm, that the state board is supportive of the Common Core standards and implementation.”

State lawmakers plan to hold a hearing on Common Core by fall, and some conservatives have called to get rid of the new standards altogether.


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