Last week, the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) adopted rule for the new, four-tiered teacher licensure system. This is a huge milestone in what has been a long and sometimes contentious rulemaking process. In particular, the past couple of months have been very busy for PELSB, as they have had to make rule changes to address defects found by the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
1) You said the past couple of months have been very busy for PELSB. How so?
Over the past two months, PELSB has had to make changes and resubmit their rule draft to the Chief ALJ several times. A detailed timeline is below:
- 16th: ALJ Barbara Case found eleven defects in PELSB’s rule draft.
- 31st: PELSB submitted rule changes to Chief ALJ Tammy Pust.
- 17th: Chief ALJ reports PELSB had “adequately corrected all but two of the earlier identified deficiencies.”
- 21st: PELSB submitted revisions to address the two areas of defects—“Professional license from another state” and “Acceptable Applicant”.
- 25th: PELSB withdrew their rule draft submission, indicating they would resubmit them after they had made further modifications.
- 1st: PELSB resubmitted rule draft with additional revisions.
- 3rd: Chief ALJ ordered that PELSB has the “statutory authority to adopt the rules.”
- 12th: PELSB adopts rule for tiered licensure.
- 15th: Office of Administrative Hearings filed adopted rules with the Secretary of State.
2) What are some of the changes PELSB made to the rule draft?
Prior to adoption and in response to defects found by the Chief ALJ, PELSB made two changes with regard to “Acceptable Applicants” and “Professional license from another state.”
Acceptable Applicants: In statute, an individual can receive a Tier 1 license and renewals if the hiring district or charter school “was unable to hire an acceptable teacher with a Tier 2, 3, or 4 license.” In order to clarify what “acceptable teacher” means, PELSB’s June 2018 rule draft indicated that PELSB would have “sole discretion” to deny a Tier 1 licensure request.
In the August 16 report, however, the ALJ noted PELSB’s proposal to review Tier 1 applications on a “case-by-case basis” did not provide a clear standard. In her report, the ALJ provided a number of recommendations for how PELSB could rectify this defect. She concluded that whatever PELSB decided to do, they must make it clear what constitutes an unacceptable higher-tiered candidate. In the end, PELSB created and adopted a list of five items that would that would deem a Tier 2, Tier 3, or Tier 4 applicant “unacceptable”.
Professional license from another state: In the August 16 report, the ALJ found PELSB’s proposed definition for “professional license” for individuals from another state to be defective for the following reasons:
- Appeared to require that “all out-of-state applicants have gone through a teacher preparation program” which conflicts with statute.
- Uses terms like “conventional,” “nonconventional,” and “alternative,” which the ALJ contended are “ambiguous in this context and are not elsewhere defined.”
To address the defects, PELSB ended up using the definition the Chief ALJ recommended in her September 17 report:
“‘Professional license from another state’ means a professional teaching license issued by the responsible state agency of another state and required by law of that state for an individual to teach in a public school, but does not include an emergency, temporary, or substitute teaching license.”
3) When Will the Adopted Rule Go Into Effect?
Unless Governor Dayton vetoes the adopted tiered licensure rule, they will be effective in late October or early November. Why the delay? Even though PELSB adopted rule, there are several steps that have to occur before the adopted rules become official:
- The Secretary of State has to send a copy of the adopted rules to the Revisor of Statutes and Governor Dayton.
- Revisor of Statutes has to prepare an official Notice of Adoption, that they will then send to PELSB.
- If Governor Dayton vetoes the adopted rules, he must do so within 14 days of receiving them from the Secretary of State and must publish a veto notice in the State Register.
- If Governor Dayton does not veto the adopted rules, PESLB will publish the Notice of Adoption in the State Register.
- The rules become effective five working days after the State Register publishes them.
4) Is PELSB Done with Rulemaking?
No, not even close. In fact, for 2019, PELSB has set a robust rulemaking schedule. Specifically, PELSB plans to do rulemaking for:
- Teacher Preparation Unit and Program
- Standards of Effective Practice
- Code of Ethics
- Teachers of Health, Physical Education, and Bilingual/Bicultural Education
Education Evolving will continue follow and report on PELSB rulemaking, particularly as it relates to teacher preparation programs and the Standards of Effective Practice.