February 2, 2018
Albuquerque, NM - Today, Teach Plus New Mexico teachers released an education policy research report, Additional Pathways for Career Advancement: Recognizing and Retaining High Quality Teachers in New Mexico. The Teach Plus Fellows put forth three policy recommendations aimed at revamping the state's licensure system and retaining excellent educators in New Mexico's classrooms:
- Create an additional pathway for teachers to advance from a Level Two licensure to a Level Three licensure.
- Develop a pathway option that balances years of service with demonstrated classroom effectiveness.
- Create an additional licensure level as an opportunity for advancement for the most effective Level Three teachers.
To better understand teachers' views of the current system, Teach Plus Fellows conducted a flash poll in November-December 2017 in which over 1,000 current New Mexico educators participated. In the poll, 65 percent of respondents supported the creation of an additional pathway for teachers to advance from a Level Two license to a Level Three license, the Teach Plus Fellows' top recommendation. Support for this recommendation was even higher among current Level Two teachers, with 80 percent in support of the additional pathway. Many Level Two teachers in New Mexico demonstrate high levels of effectiveness and participate in leadership roles, but may not have the means to obtain the required certification, such as a Master's degree, for a Level Three teacher license.
"I strongly believe that an excellent educator can change the lives of countless students in New Mexico," said Shelbi Simeone-Montoya, Teach Plus Fellow and Las Cruces special education teacher who was one of the authors of the brief. "We need to create opportunities for such educators to remain in our classrooms and in our state. By creating additional licensure pathways for a teacher to become a Level Three New Mexico educator, we are adding incentives to keep the most influential educators where they are needed most: in front of their students."
Teach Plus teachers are also advocating for the development of a Level Four license, which would provide champion Level Three educators with the opportunity to advance financially without having to become an administrator. Level Four teachers would continue to educate New Mexico students while supporting other educators as mentors and developing high quality professional development.
"As a Level Three teacher, I feel that I can no longer advance professionally or financially," said Jill Hutchinson-Bass, Teach Plus Fellow and Santa Fe 5th grade teacher, who was also one of the authors of the brief. "I have no interest in pursuing an administrator role and so I've exhausted most of my options. A Level Four or equivalent would help provide teachers like me with a vision and long-term goals to improve our professional and personal life."
About Teach Plus
Teach Plus empowers excellent, experienced teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students' success. Teach Plus programs are designed to place highly effective teachers at the center of improvements in schools as leaders of their peers and outside schools influencing policy decisions that affect their classrooms. The programs develop excellent teachers into leaders who achieve change and mobilize others in their school, district, state, and across the nation to bring change to scale. Since its inception in 2009, Teach Plus has grown to a network of more than 29,000 solutions-oriented teachers across the country. teachplus.org