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Thursday, August 25, 2016

New Emergency Rule to Help with School Staffing

State Superintendent Evers has approved an emergency rule with changes to PI 34 to assist districts with some school staffing issues.  The rule is part of a larger effort engaging stakeholders from around Wisconsin to identify and propose solutions that help school districts address critical staff shortages. The work is being guided by the Professional Standards Council (PSC), the statutorily constructed group tasked with assisting and advising the state superintendent in improving teacher preparation, licensure, and regulation.

The rule provides for the following:
  • Wisconsin educators who are near retirement or have already retired may apply for one (five-year) license without having to meet professional development requirements (i.e., 6 credits or a PDP).  This license is not renewable.
  • The number of consecutive days a short-term substitute can be in the same assignment has been increased from 20 to 45 days.  This should allow schools enough time to either find a properly licensed educator for the position or apply for an emergency license or permit for an educator who does not hold a license acceptable for the assignment.
  • The renewal requirements for emergency licenses have been expanded to include attempting to pass required tests for licensure for educators who have met all other requirements.
  • The pathway for teachers to add additional licenses based on content tests has been expanded to allow:
    • Teachers who hold an Early Adolescence-Adolescence (grades 5-12) regular education license can add another regular education license at the same developmental/grade level by passing a content test.
    • Teachers who hold a Middle Childhood-Early Adolescence (grades 1-8) regular education license and have at least four semesters of teaching experience in grades 1 or 2 can add a regular education license at the Early Childhood level (birth to grade 3) by passing the Praxis II Elementary Education Content Knowledge test and the Foundations of Reading Test.
    • Teachers who hold a Middle Childhood-Early Adolescence (grades 1-8) regular education license and have at least four semesters of teaching experience in English/language arts or math in grades 7 or 8 can add a license in that subject at the Early Adolescence-Adolescence level by passing a content test.

The rule text can be found at http://dpi.wi.gov/sites/default/files/imce/policy-budget/PI%2034%20Emergency%20Rule%20signed.pdf.

The PSC is developing a strategic plan aimed at attracting people to the profession; preparing them for work; and developing, supporting, and retaining them through their careers. Development of the plan began earlier this year by collecting information from school districts regarding existing shortages. That information is being reviewed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and used by the PSC as they develop the strategic plan. Currently the PSC is coordinating efforts to collect information for the strategic plan from educator preparation programs, professional organizations, and educators. Once final, the state superintendent will engage the education community in reviewing the strategic plan and soliciting recommendations for implementation to ensure the quality of Wisconsin’s teaching workforce.

A hearing on the rule is scheduled for 2:30-4:00pm on October 5, 2016, at the DPI's office in Madison.

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