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Reports from Policy Analysts

Lifetime Licenses for Teachers Potentially Returns for Wisconsin

Submitted On: Monday, April 3, 2017

Analyst: Cody-Johnson, Kris

Responding to a request to streamline teacher licenses, Governor Walker proposed allowing teachers to have lifelong licenses.  School administrators have welcomed this but want the license to also include requirements for training so that teachers say current.  Walker’s spokesman Tom Evenson says the state would not require training under Walker’s plan but districts could choose to require it (Fox 6).



Wisconsin ended “life licenses” in 1983, when educators were required to earn six credits (or the equivalent) to renew a five-year teaching license. In 2004, The Wisconsin Quality Educator Initiative (known as PI 34) provided a license renewal system based on performance standards that included three stages (Initial Educator, Professional Educator, Master Educator). Renewal of a license requires a Professional Development Plan (DPI Historical Timeline).  Thus, most human resources keep track of different licensing requirements, complicating records.

Implications for Wisconsin Public Schools


According to Education Week, “The proposal is an attempt at curbing teacher shortages, which have plagued the state, particularly in its rural areas.” Under this plan, teachers would save more than $750 over a 30-year career, according to Walker spokesperson Tom Everson (USNews).  The Department of Public Instruction and Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators has also proposed combining license types to make it easier for out-of-state teachers to get licensed, such as a single science license instead of separate licenses for chemistry, physics, and biology (Edweek, WEAU News).  It is yet to be seen if either plan has traction at the capitol.

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