Compact mitigates obstacles to teacher mobility
A colleague of mine, who had been teaching in Nevada for a number of years as a secondary English and English Language Learner educator, moved out of state for personal reasons. During his time with the school district, he was a critical teacher in the improvement of a school from one star to three stars in one school year. On March 17, 2023, he reached out to me inquiring about the process to reapply for his teaching license after not receiving a response from state offices.
Enthusiastic about returning to Nevada, he is facing challenges in reapplying for his teaching license, including having to reapply as though he’s a first-year teacher. He submitted his application the week of April 3 and is experiencing an extended wait time for a response. Having exhausted other options, he has decided to drive the 500 miles (one way) to Las Vegas in June in order to connect with the Nevada Department of Education.
The Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact (ITMC) legislation, when combined with Senate Bill 442 signed by Gov. Joe Lombardo on May 31, is intended to help remove barriers, such as additional exams and extended application processes. The bill requires the Commission on Professional Standards in Education to adopt regulations to carry out the compact’s provisions.
The ITMC is a voluntary agreement between states that simplifies the process of teacher mobility. It establishes regulations for reciprocal licensure, enabling teachers licensed in one member state to be considered for licensure in another. This alleviates the time and financial burdens typically encountered when obtaining a license in a new state. Member states also offer resources and information to assist teachers in finding job opportunities and streamlining the transfer of credentials and experience.
Removal of burdensome and unnecessary barriers will effectively and seamlessly get high-quality teachers into classrooms with students who most need them.
Nevada was the seventh state to join the compact, with legislation pending in nine additional states. Following the enactment of SB279 in Oregon on June 15, 2023, the ITMC has achieved legislative approval in 10 states, enabling the compact to be implemented.
The ITMC is designed to address teacher shortages by making it possible for teachers to move to states where there is a need for teachers. The compact can also improve the equity of education by ensuring that all students have access to qualified teachers.
- Prioritize military spouses and National Board-certified teachers. The compact’s potential to eliminate the need for additional tests or courses when relocating to a new state not only saves valuable time and money for teachers but also facilitates their smooth transition. In our ongoing commitment to supporting military families, demonstrated by Gov. Lombardo signing AB185 into law on June 1, Nevada should prioritize the administrative procedures for military spouses who are teachers. To expedite their teaching license application through the ITMC, we can streamline the process by allowing them to use the address of the military base, eliminating the wait for the closure of a house sale before submission. Furthermore, in our efforts to enhance the caliber and competence of our teaching workforce, we should also prioritize the administrative procedures for National Board-certified teachers, acknowledging their exemplary qualifications.
- Manage and monitor implementation of the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact. Ensure the ITMC achieves its intended purpose and outcomes by collecting, evaluating and assessing data on teachers who engage in and through the ITMC to teach in Nevada. The data collected should include information on teachers' experiences with the compact, and the effect of the compact on their teaching careers. Nevada should analyze the impact of the compact on teacher recruitment and use the data to make recommendations for additional/aligning existing recruitment strategies.
- Commit to joining interstate mobility compacts for additional professions. Doing so would enable Nevada to attract and retain skilled professionals who can contribute to its continually expanding and diversified community. Through such compacts, professionals can more readily relocate to Nevada, which could ultimately help to ensure that we have the workforce necessary to sustain our economic growth and development.
The teacher shortage is a complex problem. Implementing the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact is one promising solution that has the potential to make a significant impact on the availability of qualified educators in Nevada.
The hope is to increase the number of high-quality teachers in critical teaching areas experiencing a significant staffing shortage, while providing licensed teachers with additional opportunities to explore career growth and new teaching and leading environments. Overall, the implementation of the ITMC is a crucial step forward in addressing the Nevada teacher shortage and ensuring that all students have access to exceptional educators.
Jen Loescher serves as an educator, supporting middle school math teachers. She is a Teach Plus Nevada Senior Policy Fellow.