State education department bureaucrats frequently abuse the power delegated to them to authorize education licensure and certification requirements that the state’s legislators would never themselves approve. Our model Education Licensure Legislative Review Act requires all existing education licensure requirements, and all forthcoming revisions, to be submitted to the state legislature and the governor for review and possible veto. State policymakers ought to be able to review and veto state education certification criteria—and state education department bureaucrats will act in a more responsible fashion when they know that state policymakers have the possibility to veto their work.
Licensure and Certification
We define “education licensure requirements” to include “all criteria or standards that must be met by teachers and administrators to earn educator licensure or certification.” This definition is meant to facilitate this model bill’s use in different states, since some states refer to “licensure” and other refer to “certification.” The precise wording may be modified further to fit the administrative vocabulary used in a particular state.
Criteria and Process
This model bill requires review of licensure criteria, not to changes in the process by which licensure is administered. We believe our definition of “education licensure requirements” makes this distinction clear, but we encourage state policymakers to amend our model bill further if they believe our definition requires further clarification.
Departments of Education frequently engage in small changes in licensure that do not rise to the level that merits legislative scrutiny. They may change the required score needed to pass a test; engage in regular upgrade of test questions; or switch vendors for testing companies. Our model bill is not meant to require legislative approval for such small matters—although it would be sensible for legislators to require transparency about all such changes, so that they are not used to smuggle in real policy changes. We believe our definition of “education licensure requirements” makes this distinction clear, but we encourage state policymakers to amend our model bill further, if they wish to provide a definition of small changes that do not require legislative approval.
Short-Term Gubernatorial Action
Some states have short legislative sessions, which may prevent them from reviewing academic standards in a timely manner. These states might consider a further section that, in matters of demonstrated urgency, delegates limited power to the Governor to delay the adoption of a standard until the state legislature is in session, or to allow for a strictly temporary use of a standard until the state legislature is in session.
Model Legislative Text
All education licensure requirements for teachers and administrators adopted by the State Board of Education, and revisions to these education licensure requirements, shall be subject to legislative review as set forth in this section. The requirements shall not be implemented by the State Board of Education until the legislative review process is completed as provided for in this section.
Upon adoption of any education licensure requirements, the State Board of Education shall submit the adopted requirements to the Speaker of the House of Representatives or a designee and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate or a designee prior to the last thirty (30) days of the legislative session.
By adoption of a joint resolution, the Legislature shall approve the requirements, disapprove the requirements in whole or in part, amend the requirements in whole or in part or disapprove the requirements in whole or in part with instructions to the State Board of Education, provided that such joint resolution becomes law. If the joint resolution is vetoed by the Governor and the veto has not been overridden, the requirements shall be deemed approved. If the Legislature fails to adopt a joint resolution within thirty (30) legislative days following submission of the requirements, the requirements shall be deemed approved.
If the education licensure requirements are disapproved in whole or are disapproved in whole with instructions as provided for in this section, the State Board of Education may adopt new requirements and submit the new requirements for legislative review pursuant to this section. The State Board of Education shall continue to implement current requirements in place until the new requirements have been reviewed by the Legislature and approved as provided for in this section. If the education licensure requirements are amended, approved in part or are disapproved in part with instructions, the State Board of Education may revise the requirements in accordance with the legislative changes and implement the requirements.
Upon final approval of the requirements, the requirements shall be considered final agency rules. All requirements approved and published as provided for in this subsection shall have the same force and effect of law as agency rules.
Unless otherwise provided by specific vote of the Legislature, joint resolutions introduced for purposes of approving, disapproving, amending or disapproving with instructions any education licensure requirements shall not be subject to regular legislative cutoff dates, shall be limited to such provisions as may be necessary for approving, disapproving, amending or disapproving with instructions any education licensure requirements and any such other direction or mandate regarding the requirements deemed necessary by the Legislature. The joint resolution shall contain no other provisions.
All existing education licensure requirements must be submitted to the Legislature for review within one year of the passage into law of this bill.
“Education licensure requirements” means all criteria or standards that must be met by teachers and administrators to earn educator licensure or certification, including initial licensure, licensure renewal, advanced licensure, the use of certification assessment or exams, continuing education requirements, and any other education licensure requirement.
If any provision of this chapter, or the application of any provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid, the remainder of this chapter and the application of its provisions to any other person or circumstance shall not be affected thereby.