|New Mexico State Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786
Public Outreach Director
April 14, 2003
NCLB, Legislative Changes to Impact Teacher Licensure
(Santa Fe, NM)-The Public School Reform bill (House Bill 212) signed
by the Governor in April and the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
Act will impact teacher licensure in a number of areas, including
compensation, background checks, teacher advancement, substandard
licensure, internships, new hires, paraprofessionals and parents'
right to information on their children's teachers. "School
districts and educators across New Mexico need to be aware of these
changes now in order to plan for the next school year," said
James Ball, director of the New Mexico State Department of Education's
(SDE) Professional Licensure Unit.
Under House Bill 212, parents of public school students must be
notified within 60 days from the beginning of each school year that
they may obtain information regarding the professional qualifications
of their children's teachers, instructional support providers and
school principals. In addition, the district's superintendent must
give written notice to parents if their children are being taught
for longer than four consecutive weeks by a substitute teacher or
by a person who is not qualified to teach.
The legislation also prevents, beginning with the 2003-2004 school
year, a person who does not hold a proper license or certificate
or who has not submitted a complete application for licensure to
the SDE within three months of beginning duties as a licensed school
employee from being paid for services rendered; immediately extends
to 24 months the validity of FBI background checks, required for
initial licensure and employment; immediately requires holders of
Level I and II licenses to hold them for three full years before
advancing to the next licensure level; and, beginning in 2003-2004,
limits substandard licenses to teachers only, ending issuance due
to not passing one or more of the testing components.
A new State Board of Education (SBE) rule allows teachers in alternative
licensure programs to apply for internship licensure. Newly hired
teachers for Title I targeted assistance programs or schools in
2003-2004 must be "highly qualified" -- hold a bachelor's
degree, have passed all required state teacher testing for their
license and assignment and hold full state licensure with no waiver
of licensure standards -- before they enter the classroom.
If the teacher is a new hire in Title I in a middle school and
holds a K-8 license, he or she must have passed the content knowledge
test for the core subject area of assignment or have successfully
completed an undergraduate academic major or coursework equivalent
in each subject taught or hold advanced credentials, like National
Board Certification, in each core subject taught.
Finally, districts can submit paraprofessional tests for approval
to the director of licensure. This is one way educational assistants
can qualify for Level III educational assistant licensure, as required
by SBE rule.