MADISON — The Department of Public Instruction will conduct five hearings in January to accept public testimony on proposed changes to educator licensing rules (PI 34).
In addition to the hearings, a public comment period is open until Jan. 31 with written comments on the proposed permanent rules given the same consideration as public testimony. The hearing dates, times, and locations are as follows:
- January 16, 4 to 6 p.m. — St. Norbert College, Mulva Library, Room 101, 400 Third Street, De Pere;
- January 17, 2:30 to 4 p.m. — DPI Headquarters, GEF 3, Room P41, 125 South Webster Street, Madison;
- January 19, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. — Milwaukee Public Schools, Auditorium, 5225 West Vliet Street, Milwaukee;
- January 25, 3 to 5 p.m. — CESA 10, Conference Center, 725 West Park Avenue, Chippewa Falls; and
- January 29, 4 to 6 p.m. — University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Centennial Hall, 3212 Centennial Hall, La Crosse.
The proposed permanent rules will make changes in educator licensing to address teacher shortages and implement new statutory language as a result of the 2017-19 biennial budget (2017 Wisconsin Act 59). The proposed permanent rules:
- Update, clarify, and make consistent the program approval process for both traditional and alternative route programs. The new rules create a standard, streamlined approach to approving educator preparation programs, while ensuring these programs provide educators with high-quality, rigorous training. (Subchapters II-IV).
- Simplify the licensing process. The new rules create a tiered approach to educator licensing, which will allow educators to obtain a license fitting their unique training and experience. (Subchapter V). Under this approach:
- Tier I licenses are of limited duration and authorization, allowing school districts to meet short-term or specialized needs.
- Tier II licenses are provisional licenses that allow new educators, out-of-state license holders, and other highly qualified individuals to start the progression to a life license.
- Tier III licenses are life licenses for long-term educators.
- Tier IV licenses are optional master educator life licenses for educators who meet additional rigorous requirements for quality and effectiveness.
- Consolidate subject areas. The new rules will provide districts more flexibility in staffing their schools by preparing and licensing educators to teach entire subject areas rather than just specialized subjects (e.g., science, social studies, music – Subchapter VI)
- Add flexibility. The new rules allow highly qualified license holders to add license areas, giving them access to new opportunities and helping school districts fill high demand assignments. (Subchapter IX)
- Make the educator misconduct process fairer and more efficient, effective, and transparent. The new rules provide the DPI with additional tools to address educator misconduct, including license suspensions and reprimands. The new rules also add transparency by requiring the department to post final decisions in all misconduct cases, giving schools and parents additional information. (Subchapter X)
- Create clarity. The new rules use standardized, simplified language and structure to make the rules clearer, more understandable, and shorter. As a result, the new rules are approximately two-thirds as long as the old rules.
Written comments may be submitted via the department’s form for submitting public comment. Questions or additional testimony may be sent to Carl Bryan, Budget and Policy Analyst and Administrative Rules Coordinator, (608) 267-9127, 125 South Webster Street, P.O. Box 7841, Madison, WI 53707-7841. The proposed administrative rules and supporting documents are available for review on the department’s Proposed PI 34 Licensure Rules webpage, or the Wisconsin Legislature’s Clearinghouse Rules site.