Teachers Teaching without Teaching Licenses

February 28, 2023

After the COVID-19 pandemic, people and jobs everywhere have been struggling to find workers to come and stay. One of the major examples of this is found in K-12 schools. Many school districts have been forced to adjust their hiring standards to be able to employ more teachers. With educators leaving the profession or moving schools, districts  desperately need to fill the voids of departing teachers. In order to do so, they have begun hiring those who may not have the best qualifications.

In Florida, the standards to become a classroom teacher have been lowered. As of July 1, 2022, military veterans who meet specific criteria are now allowed to become teachers even if they have never had a teaching license previously.  This may not be as bad as it seems; they must have sixty college credits to be able to apply. At the end of two years of teaching without a license, they are granted a temporary five year license in which they must get a bachelor’s degree in that time. 

Closer to Martinsville, Chicago’s Noble Charter Schools are putting out job postings for full year substitute teachers not requiring a bachelor’s degree or a teaching license. Unlike Florida, there’s not much that substitutes are required to obtain within their time teaching. Noble Charter Schools says bachelor’s and teaching licenses are “preferred, but not required.” As of a week before school started, they were still looking for teachers without any experience.

Here in Indiana, there are fewer rules pertaining to this. There have been many teachers hired from positions such as a teacher’s aide to being a full time teacher even though the teacher doesn’t have much experience, or even a license in some cases. Indiana had just under 2,300 teaching openings this summer, so lawmakers have begun talking about adjusting rules like Florida and Chicago to be able to fill more positions. But it may not be that easy. 

From teachers being shared between districts to teachers driving for Uber after school, there’s plenty of reasons teachers may be quitting. With COVID, everyone needed just a little bit more funds than usual, which schools weren’t providing. Teachers are going underpaid and undervalued. It’s clear to see that schools are struggling and need to find new solutions in order to fill positions. Whether it’s better pay, benefits, or more relaxed standards for getting a teaching license, it’s obvious schools are struggling to find ways to get teachers that are ready to teach and stay teaching for years to come.

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