Gov. Gianforte Urges Streamlining Educator Licensing to Recruit More High-Quality Teachers

Governor's Office
  • April 06 2022

HELENA, Mont. – Ahead of the Montana Board of Public Education’s (BPE) next meeting, Governor Greg Gianforte today urged the board to streamline educator licensure to improve recruitment of more high-quality teachers for Montana students. The licensure reforms will eliminate barriers highly qualified educators face as they seek to teach Montana kids. 

“Montana is facing a critical shortage of K-12 educators. While we take a comprehensive approach to recruiting and retaining high-quality individuals into the teaching profession, we must eliminate barriers to licensure for those who are interested in teaching,” Gov. Gianforte wrote in a letter to BPE. “I support the Superintendent’s proposed revisions. I believe they will attract more Montanans to the teaching profession while making us competitive to high-quality, out-of-state educators who want to make Montana their home.” 

Writing in support of reciprocity for out-of-state licenses and adopting prudent national licensure standards where they exist related to licensure, the governor drew special attention to various proposed revisions, including: 

  • Providing reciprocity. Automatic reciprocity for military spouses and dependents licensed in other states creates an immediate pool of experienced educators while encouraging military families to make Montana their home. The governor also encouraged the Board and Montana Office of Public Instruction to enter into multi-state reciprocity agreements with states that have similar licensing standards to Montana.
  • Defining approved educator preparation programs and student-teaching portfolio. Adding definitions for approved educator preparation programs, accredited programs, and performance assessments, like a student-teaching portfolio, will recognize the diverse ways educators gain experience, demonstrate their teaching knowledge and skills, and become licensed.
  • Expanding endorsements. Expanding the ways educators can gain additional endorsements will make it easier for educators to teach a variety of subjects in which they are experienced. This will help with teacher shortages in specific content areas.
  • Requiring Indian Education for All professional development. Montana’s laws are unique with respect to the role that our schools play in educating youth about our state’s American Indian heritage. The governor believes the IEFA professional development requirement should be incorporated throughout all license types.

“Taken together, these efforts will help develop a stronger, more robust educator workforce, create greater opportunity for more Montanans, and help our students reach their full, outstanding potential,” Gov. Gianforte concluded. 

Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen has proposed revisions to ARM 10.57 “Educator Licensure” to eliminate the barriers for employment for high-quality, highly qualified teachers. The deadline to submit public comment on proposed licensure rules is April 8. 

BPE is scheduled to meet April 28 to address educator licensure rulemaking. 

The governor’s full letter to BPE about streamlining educator licensure to recruit more high-quality teachers can be found here.