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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Final Amendments to Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval, 603 CMR 7.00

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
June 19, 2012

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At the April 24, 2012 meeting, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to solicit public comment on proposed amendments to 603 CMR 7.00, Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval. The Department received 38 comments from individuals and organizations during the public comment period. Enclosed is a table summarizing the comments and the Department's responses.

The proposed amendments are intended to:

  1. Build an outputs and evidence-driven approval process for educator preparation programs with reporting requirements to support a new accountability system for all educator preparation programs;
  2. Revise the requirements for the professional license to allow content-specific pedagogy courses (e.g., how to teach math concepts to students) as well as content courses (e.g., mathematics) to be used for professional licensure;
  3. Increase the number of hours of practical experience that educators are expected to have in preparation for licensure;
  4. Revise the subject matter knowledge requirements for the English as a Second Language license to reflect current research on teaching English as a Second Language; and
  5. Clarify exemptions regarding the requirement to hire licensed personnel.

The changes from the April draft regulations, based on public comment, include:

  • Field experience requirements (7.02 and 7.04 (4)). We received many comments expressing concern that requiring individuals to complete field experiences that cover the entire school year, including the opening and closing of the school year, could create financial hardship and potential liability issues. We have modified the requirements to address those concerns. In response to other comments, we modified practicum hours, and included additional settings that could be used for the field-based experience requirements.

  • Revised definitions (7.02) and implementation timelines (7.03 (8));

  • Included an additional subject matter knowledge standard as a requirement for the English as a Second Language (ESL) license; and

  • Made other minor edits for clarification.

The following changes would result if the regulations are approved:

  • Strengthened subject matter knowledge requirements for ESL teachers as an additional component to our RETELL initiative, which seeks to close the proficiency gap for English language learners (603 CMR 7.06 (9));

  • Improved educator preparation programs in Massachusetts and a new web-based accountability system;

  • Integration of the impact of preparation programs through reporting and state accountability, including: evaluation ratings of students taught by program graduates; job placement and retention rates; and survey results of program completers, supervising practitioners, and their principals;

  • Increased commitment and requirement that educator preparation programs work in partnership with districts and schools to support the needs of the districts;

  • Pre-service educators will have the opportunity to work with effective educators by requiring that supervising practitioners have an evaluation rating of proficient or higher in order to be eligible to serve in that capacity;

  • Increased hours of field-based experiences, to better prepare educators to be effective beginning in their first year of employment;

  • Alignment with the national direction for educator preparation by: (1) including new accountability measures with increased annual reporting requirements; and (2) shifting from a five-year to a seven-year approval cycle with interim review options;

  • New program approval standards that have been field tested with two cohorts of preparation program providers to be used as the basis for program approval, using effectiveness indicators for each standard and performance measures that will be included in the Department's Guidelines for Program Approval;

  • Ability for the Department to identify programs that need intervention or support, provide technical assistance to low performing programs, and where necessary, close programs that fail to improve;

  • Allow content-specific pedagogy courses (e.g., Developing Math Practices for Number, Operations, and Algebraic Reasoning) to count towards professional licensure;

  • Clarify the circumstances in which school districts are permitted to employ unlicensed personnel; and

  • Deletion of obsolete language from the regulations.

Claudia Bach, Director of the Office of Educator Preparation, Policy and Leadership; Liz Losee, Assistant Director of the Office of Educator Preparation, Policy and Leadership; Brian Devine, Director of the Licensure Office; and Debra Comfort, Associate General Counsel, will be available at the Board meeting to answer any questions.

Enclosures:

 
Attachment 1: Amendments to 603 CMR 7.00, Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval - clean version Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document and strikethrough version Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Attachment 2: Summary and analysis of public comments on proposed amendments
 
Attachment 3: Motion


Last Updated: June 22, 2012
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