Notes on Emergency Teacher Licensing

Scott Girard

Wisconsin schools are increasingly turning to emergency licenses to get staff into classrooms with some using those licenses longer than may have been intended.

According to a new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum, the state Department of Public Instruction issued 3,197 emergency licenses to teach in Wisconsin in the 2021-22 school year, up 184.2% from the 1,125 issued in the 2012-13 school year.

“When school districts in Wisconsin cannot find a teacher licensed by DPI to fill a certain position, they can hire an unlicensed individual who then applies for a license with certain conditions or stipulations,” the WPF report explains.

These types of licenses can be used by teachers, counselors, social workers, librarians and school administrators.

“Emergency licenses play an important role in staffing the state’s classrooms and may be used in a variety of scenarios, which are often short-term and sometimes urgent,” the report states.