The number of emergency teaching licenses issued in Wisconsin has nearly tripled during the past decade, according to a new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum, as schools everywhere struggle to find and retain teachers.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction issued 3,197 emergency teacher licenses in the 2021-2022 school year, which is up more than 184% from 2012-2013, when 1,125 emergency licenses were issued.
“Districts have faced longstanding challenges filling classrooms with qualified staff, particularly in specialty subjects, but concerns about teacher shortages in Wisconsin have grown far more prevalent in recent years,” the Policy Forum report states.
“The rise in emergency licenses substantiates these growing concerns by suggesting that districts are encountering greater difficulties in hiring enough teachers through the traditional routes, particularly in areas such as special education.”
People are also reading…
In addition to the traditional license teachers can obtain after earning a bachelor’s degree and completing the appropriate training, Wisconsin also offers two types of emergency licenses, a one-year and a three-year license.
Teachers obtain these for a number of different reasons when they aren’t able to quickly obtain the traditional license needed for a specific grade, subject or position. That can happen, for example, when a teacher has to fill in to teach another subject for a year, or because someone hasn’t earned enough classroom experience to qualify for the traditional license.
The number of teachers holding emergency licenses and the number of school districts using them also increased over the past decade.
More than 100 additional school districts in the state also have turned to emergency licenses in the last decade, from 303 districts in 2012-2013 to 406 last year. A majority of Wisconsin school districts now employ teachers with emergency licenses.