Recently, Arkansas updated its rules and regulations for teachers and published a draft for public review and comment. Part of the new proposed rules call for a 4-tiered teacher license proposed to begin in the 2019-2020 academic year.
While many details are still unclear, the stated intent of the tiered system is to feature an “education career continuum” that would support teachers in advancing within the profession without the need to leave the classroom (e.g., to pursue roles in other education professional jobs). The intent of the proposed system seems to be to reward career classroom teachers for continued excellence in their work with P-12 children.
The four level of license would be: (1) early career professional educator license; (2) the career professional educator license; (3) the lead professional educator license; and (4) the master professional educator license.
Teachers will be able to move through the tiers based on years of teaching experiences, proven effectiveness as a teacher (presumably based on the state’s current Danielson-based teacher evaluation system), and “other criteria” that are yet to be defined.
School districts would be encouraged to recognize teachers in the upper tiers who have proven demonstrated expertise in the classroom thus building a system for promoting teacher leaders and the concept of teacher leadership. Teacher leaders might be called on to conduct training sessions, to mentor, or to lead committees.
A concern voiced by teachers in the state continues to be any efforts by the state or by districts to tie monies to teachers’ status within these tiers. While that is not stated in the draft regulations, it is a possibility being raised in local teacher contexts.