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Legislative Update

DPI readying rule changes to provide teacher licensing flexibility during COVID pandemic

by | Oct 9, 2020 | Legislative Update Blog, State Issue, Uncategorized, WASB

Many school districts across the state are facing teacher and staff supply challenges that have been made worse by the pandemic.  As we reported in an earlier blog post, the WASB–along with other K-12 advocacy groups–has urged legislative leaders to take up and pass a set of statutory changes to address, among other things, teacher licensing flexibility, and potential revenue losses due to fluctuations in September pupil counts.

In response to calls for greater teacher licensure flexibility amid that challenges posed by the pandemic, the DPI has initiated rulemaking changes to Chapter PI 34, the administrative rules chapter relating to teacher licensing.  The department is referring to these changes as “Licensing flexibilities during a pandemic declaration” in its scope statement.

The issuance of a scope statement is a required preliminary step in the rule promulgation process under state statutes.  The DPI is required to take comments on that scope statement.  Here is information on submitting comments on the scope statement. 

While the WASB is supportive of the emergency rule based on the scant information we know about it, we are likely going to wait to comment until we know more about the content and substance of the proposed emergency rules that will be issued under the scope statement.

Editor’s Note:  If you confused by why the DPI cannot release more information at present, you are not alone.  Due to some rather arcane and technical restrictions placed on all state agencies’ rulemaking by the Legislature, the DPI cannot comment on the subject of the proposed emergency rules until after today’s hearing.

Based on what the scope statement indicates, the objective of the proposed rule is to amend PI 34 in order to create licensing flexibilities to address staffing needs in school districts and to help school districts ensure continuity of services during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the rule will provide flexibilities for educator preparation programs regarding their clinical programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Flexibilities offered under this rule may include but are not limited to the following areas:

  • Length of assignment for short-term substitutes
  • In-person clinical experiences and evaluations
  • Grade and subject level licensing flexibility
  • Substitute licensing provisions

Stay tuned for more specifics.


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