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The Hard Truth About Licensure Reciprocity: One AAE Teacher’s Story
posted by: Alana | December 07, 2015, 05:00 AM   

By David Fassler


I recently moved to another state and learned firsthand the frustrations of being a fully qualified teacher in one state but not having your credentials recognized in another.


I did not follow the traditional pathway to licensure. In August of 2004, I accepted a position teaching science at a public charter school in Boston. I had no classroom experience but a degree in the sciences and experience teaching for a number of environmental education pro­grams and at a nationally ranked science museum.


I was hired by the school under a waiver with the expecta­tion that I would secure my license within one year. By the start of my second year, I passed the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (a literacy and communication basic skills test) as well as the middle school general science con­tent test, and was issued a preliminary teaching license, the lowest of teaching licenses issued to individuals with a bachelor’s degree who pass the state exams.


In 2006 I began a state-approved educator preparation program designed for in-service charter school teachers. By the fall of 2008, I had a master’s degree, an initial teaching license, and endorsements in middle school gen­eral science, middle and high school biology, and middle and high school Earth and space science. In 2010, I was granted professional level licensure.


In 2011 my family and I considered moving to Minnesota. In researching the process of transferring my Massa­chusetts license, I discovered that at the time Minnesota would reciprocate professional level licenses from other states. In December of 2011 I had completed all the requirements to upgrade my credentials and I applied for my professional license.


Despite a reissue of “never received” paperwork, in a matter of weeks I was issued my professional educa­tor’s license for middle and high school biology. Six months later I had my professional middle school general science and middle and high school Earth science license.


By 2013, I had gone from being a novice teacher with no training in the profession to having a master’s degree, the highest level Massachu­setts teaching license, five content endorsements, and 10 years of teaching experience in Title I schools.


During the months waiting for my Massachusetts license, Minnesota changed its laws and would no longer reciprocate any licenses, of any levels, from any other state.

What happened next was a wild ride that NO ONE expected…


Find out what happened to David during his licensing journey in this month’s edition of Education Matters!


Have you experienced difficulty with teacher licensure?
Tell us about it in the comments below.


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