Survey: Regulatory Proposals for Streamlining/Simplifying Licensure and License Renewal Processes – Now Closed

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) is in the process of developing a series of regulatory proposals aimed at streamlining and simplifying the licensure and license renewal process for educators licensed via 603 CMR 7.00. This work and these proposals are in alignment with Governor Baker’s Executive Order 562 to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden.

Educators, those involved with preparing our workforce, and other interested parties were given the opportunity to complete a survey and provide the Department with helpful information regarding the proposed changes. The Department is now in the process of reviewing the results of the survey and will determine what proposals to move forward with.

Currently, it is anticipated that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education would receive regulatory proposals for a potential vote to send out regulations for a public comment period at the December 20, 2016 meeting.   

We thank everyone who participated in this survey for their feedback.


Historical Overview of Working Group for Streamlining Educator Licensure Regulations & Policies

Invitation:

On April 8th, Commissioner Chester announced plans to develop a Working Group for Streamlining Educator Licensure Regulations & Policies. This group will review the current regulations for entry into the profession, advancement, and continuation and make recommendations for potential changes. Workgroup recommendations will go through a public vetting process before the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopts any changes to licensure regulations. This work is aligned with Governor Baker’s Executive Order 562 to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden.

The Department is seeking pre-K-12 educators, individuals involved in preparing new educators, newly licensed teachers, and other interested individuals for the working group. Participants should have knowledge, experience and/or an educational background related to educator licensure, license renewal/professional development, and professional teacher and administrator standards and indicators. The Department expects to bring together a workgroup of approximately 15-20 individuals so that the work can move expeditiously while being broadly representative of the educator workforce.

To apply to join the working group, please submit the following three documents to Tonya Safford at tsafford@doe.mass.edu by Friday, April 22, 2016: a resume of two pages or less, including relevant experience, education and publications; a one- to two-page statement of interest written in 12-point Times New Roman font indicating the applicant's particular area of expertise/interest and responding to the following question: If you could change one thing about the existing licensure regulations, what change would you make?; and a commitment to participate in the following four meeting dates from 4-6:30 p.m. (Tuesday, May 10, 2016; Wednesday, May 25; Tuesday, June 14; and Tuesday, June 28), including availability for preparation work in advance of meetings and feedback on documents in between meetings. All meetings will be held at ESE, 75 Pleasant St., Malden.  

Process for the Working Group:

Educators and those interested in the efforts to streamline the licensure process are encouraged to visit this page frequently, as meeting materials and notes will be posted here.

The Department has structured the working group to meet once for each of the stages and types of licensure (e.g., entry—one meeting focused on the temporary and preliminary; one meeting focused on the initial license and license advancement; one meeting focused on license renewal; and one meeting focused on general licensure policies).

Prior to each of the four meetings, the working group will receive an overview of the statutory and regulatory structure of each topic area (entry, advancement and continuation), relevant data, and questions for discussion. The Department may also include draft ideas for each of the licensure stages. These draft ideas are intended to be conversation starter. We anticipate that the discussion will lead to new and innovative ideas on how to streamline the licensure system. 

At the conclusion of the four meetings, the Department will review the feedback and ideas from the working group meetings and develop plans to advance the work. At this time, it is unknown exactly what the course of action will be, including when proposals may be developed for review by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The timeline and course of action will depend on the recommendations produced by the working group.  Follow-up information and next steps will be posted to this site once determined.


FAQs

What is the scope of the work?

The working group will review the current requirements (603 CMR 7.00) for obtaining a Temporary, Preliminary, Initial and Professional license for teachers, administrators and professional support staff. In addition, the group will review the requirements for renewing a professional license (603 CMR 44.00). Work will be based on the existing statutory framework of licensure (M.G.L. Chapter 71, Section 38G). Some streamlining recommendations may require changes to the regulations while other recommendations might happen through a change in ESE’s licensure guidance.

Why is the work limited to only four meetings and a short timeframe?

The working group discussions will be limited to the licensure requirements found in the existing Massachusetts statute. As a result, the work will concentrate on potential changes to the current licensure regulations (603 CMR 7.00 and 603 CMR 44.00) and related policies and procedures. Based on feedback received in 2014, internal (ESE) reviews and this working group, the Department plans to take time to assess the feedback received to determine appropriate next steps to develop a licensure system that encourages knowledgeable, talented and skilled educators to enter the profession, grow and develop serve students well and to build a licensure system that is efficient for our state’s educators.  

Why do people have to apply to be part of the working group?

Educators and those involved with preparing and developing our workforce bring different perspectives, experiences and expertise to the profession. Through the application process, we hope to achieve broad representation of knowledge and expertise and perspective so the conversation in the working group will be informed by a diversity of perspectives and by individuals with working knowledge of the current system and reflect the Commonwealth’s educator workforce.  

Does the Department already have a set of proposals they just want the working group to endorse?

The Department does not have a set of proposals for which we are seeking an endorsement. Based on previous work with the field and an internal review of the statute and regulations, the Department will introduce draft ideas as a starting point for conversations.

Will the proposals include linking licensure to educator evaluation?

No. In 2014, Commissioner Chester issued a memo that separates requirements for licensure from the ratings generated during the educator evaluation process.

What is the process for the working groups?

The working group will look at licensure in three major areas: entry, advancement and continuation. The group will review some ESE-developed draft ideas and weigh the pros and cons of those proposals, as well as have the opportunity to propose other suggestions for streamlining through robust discussion. In some cases, pre-meeting work may be requested in the form of reviewing meeting materials and thinking through ideas for streamlining the licensure system.

Why is membership in the working group limited to 15-20 people?

The Department is seeking a diverse group to serve on the working group, including but not limited to new and veteran teachers, those involved with hiring and developing educators (principals/assistant principals, superintendents/assistant superintendents and human resources directors), union leaders, those involved with preparing educators, etc. We believe that such a diverse group will be productive, bring various perspectives, yet not be too unwieldy and allow for ample participation of each member.

In order to ensure broad membership, the Department has reached out to organizations and associations such as the Massachusetts Teachers Association (AFT), AFT Massachusetts, Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (MASS), Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators’ Association (MSSAA), Massachusetts Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA), Massachusetts Association of School Personnel Administrators (MASPA) and all of the approved preparation programs in the Commonwealth.

When does the Department plan to go to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education?

At this point, the Department does not have a specific date in mind. ESE will listen to stakeholders and spend time reviewing the working group’s feedback, fine tuning proposals and ideas that emerge from the working group and determining how to best move ideas from the working group forward.

How will the Department solicit broader feedback beyond the working group of 15-20 people?

This will be a question we plan to pose to the working group, to discuss - how to engage stakeholders from across the state in giving feedback on licensure policies and how to engage stakeholders in the most productive way.

Is this work including potential changes to the regulations for vocational licensure (603 CMR 4.00)?

No, this working group will be focused on potential changes to the Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval, 603 7.00, only.


Working Group Resources

Documents Week of June 28, 2016

Documents Week of June 14, 2016

Documents Week of May 25, 2016

Documents Week of May 10, 2016