Education

REPORT: Around 1,000 DC Public Schools Teachers Aren’t Licensed To Teach

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter

Around 1,000 D.C. Public Schools teachers are not licensed to teach, according to a Thursday report.

About one out of every four D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) teachers for the 2017-2018 school year does not hold a teaching license, reported NBC Washington.

“How do we ensure the teachers coming into D.C. Public Schools are properly trained and prepared for the students, without licensure?” D.C. State Board of Education member and father of a middle school student Joe Weedon asked. “Licensing (of teachers) is the safety net.”

If teachers do not have licenses, Anne Arundel County Public Schools and Prince George’s County Public Schools deem them substitutes.

“Licensure is just one of many components we look at to determine whether a teacher is meeting our high standards,” a DCPS spokesman told NBC Washington. “Even before they receive an offer letter, teachers must complete a rigorous selection process that identifies the teachers with the greatest potential to thrive in DCPS classrooms.”

The district said it will require all 2018-2019 hires to apply to the Office of State Superintendent for their licenses before teaching. D.C. Public Schools did not respond immediately to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s inquiry regarding whether it will make current teachers obtain licenses.

Schools can avoid hiring teachers who have had their licenses revoked due to misconduct. The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification maintains a database of around 80,000 such cases. Since teachers who never received licenses cannot have them revoked, the database does not account for unlicensed teachers.

“Licensure requirements exist for a reason,” Gaston de los Reyes, whose children attend Oyster-Adams Bilingual School, said. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense that the District hasn’t embraced a good credentialing system.”

D.C. Public Schools has made headlines for other scandals during the 2017-2018 school year. Teachers at the district’s Ballou High School generally did not lower the grades of students with excessive absences and awarded 50 percent, instead of zero percent, for uncompleted work. D.C. Public Schools increased its graduation from 53 percent in 2011 to 73 percent in 2017, but its 2018 projected rate was 42 percent. The school passed an emergency measure earlier in June allowing students who have missed more than six weeks of classes to graduate anyway. (RELATED: DC Graduation Rate Cut Nearly In HALF After Corruption Scandal)

A June report revealed that 50 of D.C.’s 115 public schools do not feature locks on classroom doors.

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