DPI Plans To Reduce Wisconsin’s Teacher Content Knowledge Requirements

Wisconsin department of public instruction, via a kind reader:

Through its work with stakeholder groups, the Department has identified administrative rule changes that help school districts address teacher shortages, beginning with CHR 16-086 which became effective on June 1, 2017. Additional changes to PI 34 are being advanced by the Department which build upon the changes made by CHR 16-086 in this emergency rule. In order to continue implementing solutions that help school districts address staffing difficulties, the emergency rule provides further flexibility, transparency, and clarity around the teacher licensing process by doing the following:

• Creating a one-year License with Stipulations (replacing emergency licenses and permits) for:

• Teachers and pupil services professionals from another state who have not met Wisconsin testing requirements;

• Speech Language Pathologists who hold a valid license from DSPS; and

• If a district cannot find a fully licensed teacher or pupil services professional, an individual with a bachelor’s degree.

• Creating a three-year License with Stipulations as part of a district-sponsored pathway for experienced teachers to receive another teacher license in a new subject or developmental level.

• Issuing licenses to teachers from another state who have successfully completed the edTPA or the National Board process (Foundations of Reading Test still required).

• Starting January 1, 2018, allowing Initial and Professional Educators to use professional growth goals and work in Educator Effectiveness as another option to renew or advance their license.

• Allowing educator preparation programs flexibility in their admissions policies by removing specific testing (Praxis CORE) and GPA requirements from rule.

• Allowing teacher and pupil services candidates to demonstrate content knowledge with a 3.0 or higher GPA in license area or by successfully completing a content-based portfolio.

• Removing the master’s degree requirement for the Library Media Specialist License and make it a stand-alone license based on completion of a major.

• Creating a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps teaching license allowing someone who has been certified as a JROTC instructor by a branch of the military to teach JROTC courses in a high school.

Summary of, and comparison with, existing or proposed federal regulations: N/A
Comparison with rules in adjacent states: N/

A Summary of factual data and analytical methodologies:

PI 34 contains the current administrative rules governing the licensure of school personnel. Section 115.425, Wis. Stats., and PI 34.36, Wis. Admin. Code, provide the duties of the Professional Standards Council for Teachers, which advises the State Superintendent of Public Instruction on matters pertaining to the licensure of teachers. In its advisory capacity, the Professional Standards Council reviews and makes recommendations for administrative rules related to teacher preparation, licensure and regulation. The PSC developed a strategic plan for addressing school staffing challenges in Wisconsin with the goal of developing, supporting, and retaining teachers, and some of those recommendations were used in this rule development. Such strategies include fewer licenses with greater flexibility, easing the licensing process for out-of-state license holders, reducing the testing burden, and expanding pathways into the profession. Without this emergency rule, the current rule would still be in effect and the Department would continue to administer school personnel licensure as it exists in PI 34.


Public comments and a hearing on July 6, 2017.

Wisconsin takes a baby step toward teacher content knowledge requirements using one aspect of Massachusetts’ policy (MTEL).

Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results.

How did Wisconsin Teacher candidates perform on the “Foundation of Reading” requirement? Have a look.