© 2024 New England Public Media

FCC public inspection files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact hello@nepm.org or call 413-781-2801.
PBS, NPR and local perspective for western Mass.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Massachusetts easing licensing burden for emergency-approved teachers

School supplies in a preschool classroom in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Elizabeth Román
School supplies in a preschool classroom in Springfield, Massachusetts.

With thousands of teachers holding pandemic-era emergency licenses, state officials have established a network of support centers to help educators secure more traditional credentials.

The five regional centers are designed to help some 4,000 emergency licensees obtain their provisional or initial licenses by offering "wrap-around support," including mentoring and coaching throughout the licensure process, the Healey administration announced this week. Teachers can also receive free help preparing for the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure, as well as vouchers to cover the cost of the MTELs.

"Many Emergency license holders are committed members of their school communities. And we are committed to helping them stay there. These centers are our investment in their future, supporting educators to stay in the profession they love while helping them to meet the necessary licensing requirements," Secretary of Education Patrick Tutwiler said in a statement Tuesday. "I hope Emergency licensed educators will take advantage of the opportunities for mentoring and financial support and remain in education for many years to come."

The centers are located at Bridgewater State University (for educators in Norfolk, Bristol, Plymouth, Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket counties); the education services organization Class Measures (Suffolk County educators); Salem State University (Essex County); Stonehill College (Worcester and Middlesex counties); and Westfield State University (Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties).

Emergency licenses became available in June 2020 to accommodate teacher candidates who could not complete their traditional training due to the pandemic, state officials said.

About 5,800 individuals obtained emergency licenses from June 2020 through May 2021, according to a Boston University study. The alternative license helped boost the diversity of the educator workforce, with about 23 percent of initial licensees identifying as Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Asian or other; about half of the licensees were white, according to the study.

"The Emergency license for educators was an important tool that helped prevent a sudden teacher shortage during the pandemic," Russell Johnston, acting commissioner of elementary and secondary education, said. "The Department is committed to helping Emergency license holders transition to more traditional licenses and remain in the profession."

Related Content