Idaho is considering a tiered licensure program for teachers. That means different teaching licenses based on professional status.
There is a committee of 13 people statewide who are deciding how Idaho should create a new plan for determining a teacher's professional level. The Tiered Licensure Technical Advisory Committee held their first meeting on Monday.
"The governor's Task Force (for Improving Education) has recommended that Idaho do a tiered licensure that would replace what they were hoping would be a pay per performance, so now they are looking at other options and tier licensure is one they came up with," said Mikki Nuckols, a committee member and a teacher at Rocky Mountain Middle School
It is the committee's job to decide what those levels are and how teachers would move through them. They will consider other states as models, and determine what is the best fit for Idaho. One possibility would be a novice level, professional level, and master level. That could allow the highest level to mentor newer teachers.
"A tiered licensure system really allows for teachers who are master teachers to be able to share their craft with other teachers. With tiered licensure you would have a novice teacher, then a professional teacher, then a mentoring teacher, and then they would have new sets of responsibility associated with that mentoring license," said Lisa Burtenshaw, committee member and Idaho Falls School District 91 trustee.
Nuckols put it simply, "A new teacher coming in would actually have an internship so they wouldn't be faced with being graded on the exact same level as a veteran teacher, because you don't come in with all the tricks of the trade."
According to Melissa McGrath from the State Department of Education, tiers would tie to how teachers are paid, but the committee is not working on that yet.
"We want to get the nuts and bolts down before we even look at the money," said Nuckols.
The goal is for the committee to have a recommendation for the state Legislature by March 2014.