Proposed Rule on Tiered Certification
Frequently Asked Questions
How does rulemaking work?
Under Idaho law, Administrative Rules have the full force and effect of law. However, the process of approval of an agency rule is different than the passage of a legislative bill. The task of rulemaking occurs between legislative sessions. The State Board of Education, like some other state agencies, has the legal authority to create certain rules. Once approved by the State Board of Education, rules are published electronically in the Administrative Bulletin. Once published, all interested people have at least 21 days to submit comments–either orally or written–regarding the rule. Once the comment period has concluded, the state agency will review the comments and take official action to (a) approve the rule, as written; (b) make changes to the rule, based on the comments received; or (c) eliminate the rule in its entirety. If a rule is formally adopted by the state agency, it is forwarded to the germane House and Senate legislative committees for action. The legislative committees then hold hearings on the rules during the first few weeks of the legislative session. If the rule is approved by one or both committees of the legislature, the rule becomes official and has the full force and effect of law until it is changed through the rulemaking process.
How will this new tiered certification process affect my certification?
If the rule is approved by the legislature, as currently written, it would take effect at the end of the legislative session. Idaho teaching certificates currently held by an individual would be classified as a Professional Certificate. Any individual applying for certification after that date would receive certification as outlined in the rule.
I have earned a Master’s Degree and/or National Board Certification. Will I automatically be eligible for the Master Certificate?
Under the proposed rule, the Master Certificate is only available to those individuals who meet the prerequisites outlined in the rule. Advanced degrees such as a Master’s or National Board Certification are not necessary to earn a Master Certificate.
How can I impact the discussion?
There are many ways for individuals to impact the decision. First, educate yourself about the rule itself. Comments based on inaccurate data will be disregarded. You can find more information about the rule on the IEA website at http://idahoea.org/news/state-board-approves-new-teacher-certification-rules. Next, prepare your comments. If you are unable to attend one of the three (3) planned community meetings to deliver your concerns in person, then submit them electronically. Third, talk to your colleagues. Urge them to get informed and submit their comments. Next, talk to your superintendent, your principal and members of your school board. Urge them to also work with you to oppose this rule. Finally, reach out to legislators who serve on the House and Senate Education Committees. These lawmakers will be asked to vote on the rules.
How will my local evaluation affect my certification?
Under the proposed rule, a teacher’s evaluation will play a significant role in his/her ability to receive certification and to maintain certification. All new-to-the-profession teaching candidates will receive a non-renewable Residency Certificate that is valid for three (3) years. If, at the expiration of that three-year certificate, the teacher has not met all of the requirements to receive a Professional Certificate, including receiving on the local evaluation at least 16 “Proficient” or higher marks and no more than 6 “Basic” marks, s/he will need to return to a college or university to address all deficiencies. Once those deficits are addressed, the individual may reapply for a Residency Certificate and try again. In the meantime, the individual will not have certification and will not be able to continue teaching.
Once an individual has received a Professional Certificate, there are new requirements to maintain the Professional Certificate. Among those various requirements is the condition that for 3 of the 5 years of the term of the teaching certificate, the individual must receive at least 18 “Proficient” or higher marks, and no more than 4 “Basic” marks, on the local evaluation to be recertified. If the requirements are not met, the individual must be placed on a local plan of improvement and will receive a Contingent Professional Certificate. Assuming that the individual is unable to successfully complete his or her local plan of improvement, s/he may be put into a position of being unemployed and unable to receive the appropriate interventions necessary to remove the “contingent” status from his/her certificate. The rule allows for him/her to apply for Inactive Status; however, it is unclear how s/he would remove the contingent status at a later time.
Who will be conducting my evaluation?
The rule requires that your summative evaluation be completed by two (2) observers who have proof that they are proficient in evaluating teacher performance. One (1) of those observations may be conducted via video.
When will this rule go into effect?
If approved by the legislature, the rule will go into effect at the conclusion of the legislative session, usually in late March or early April.
Can I get certification in other states?
Yes, teachers who hold Idaho certification may seek certification in other states. However, if your certification is revoked, your application is denied, or you experience any demotion in your certification status, most states require that you disclose this information. Further, the state may be compelled to report the change in certification to a national agency.
What if I do not agree with my evaluation?
Currently, any teacher who disagrees with his or her evaluation has the opportunity to attach a rebuttal to the evaluation and have it included in his or her personnel file. That process is not changed with this rule. If your evaluation results in a change in certification, you always have the right to appeal to the Professional Standards Commission at the time of renewal. There may also be a process to challenge an evaluation through the negotiated Master Agreement or school board policy, although these provisions will vary depending on your school district.
How will this new rule affect my current pay?
It is important to note that the proposed rule addresses only certification, not pay. However, the original Governor’s Task Force recommendations did contemplate a system that tied teacher pay to teacher licensure. The Task Force envisioned that the system would operate as it currently does: the state would provide funding via a state reimbursement schedule and teacher salaries would be negotiated at the local level. Additionally, the original recommendation identified that the criteria for movement between the tiers include experience, additional credentialing, and accountability, and would be based on performance. Further, the Professional Certificate and the Master Certificate would include additional salary that could be earned for fulfillment of leadership responsibilities that the districts would determine (i.e., curriculum development work, chairing collaboration teams, mentoring, etc.). This would allow districts to define the leadership responsibilities that are needed and further allow teachers to select the roles they wish to fulfill and to be compensated for them.
The committee that developed the proposed rule on tiered certification is also tasked with outlining the Career Ladder pay plan. The committee has had some preliminary discussions on this issue, but they have not yet completed these discussions. The next meeting of the committee is slated for September, and IEA will be involved in these discussions.
Will the number of teachers who can earn Master Professional Certification be limited?
No, there is nothing in the rule that would limit the number of teachers that could earn the Master Professional Certification. If you meet the requirements outlined in the rule, you would be eligible to receive the certification.
What about special education teachers? Are they also impacted by this rule?
According to information presented at the August meeting of the State Board of Education, teachers holding an Exceptional Child Certification, Teacher/Librarian Endorsement, and/or Gifted and Talented Endorsement will participate in the Tiered Certification model. Pupil Personnel Services Certification (includes nurses, audiologists, school psychologists, etc. will be reclassified as “school support specialists” and state funding for these positions will be separate, as will their evaluation.
Do you have other questions? Submit them to http://idahoea.org/about-iea/contact-us. We’ll update this list of FAQs periodically.