Changes to Licensure Policy in 2015

The Tennessee Department of Education strives to expand students’ access to effective educators. As part of this effort, the Department recommended changes to the current licensure system. On August 16, 2013, the Tennessee State Board of Education adopted the Department’s recommendations. The changes streamline license types, introduce more rigorous entry requirements, and connect licensure to performance data. Additionally, under the new policy, licensure renewal and advancement processes will become far less complex and cumbersome for the educator.  

On January 31, 2014, the Tennessee State Board of Education voted to rescind parts of the new policy related to advancement and renewal criteria. We anticipate that the Board will approve new policy language in the near future. Updates will be posted as soon as they become available.

On June 30, 2014, the Tennessee State Board of Education voted to approve the first reading of a revised rule and policy regarding licensure.  The new documents are posted below.  The second, and final reading, for this rule and policy will take place at the next meeting of the State Board of Education on July 25.  

Additional Information

Presentation to the Tennessee State Board of Education June 30, 2014

Approved by the State Board of Education

Frequently Asked Questions about New Policy

Why is Tennessee changing the way educators earn and maintain licenses?

Every student deserves an excellent educator.

The Tennessee Department of Education is committed to ensuring that all students have access to effective educators. As a part of that commitment, the department has a responsibility to verify the effectiveness of educators who work in Tennessee public schools. Educators, parents, students and community stakeholders rely on the department’s ability to fulfill that expectation.

Teaching is one of our state’s most important jobs.

We recognize that successful teachers are highly skilled and professional individuals. Our educators deserve higher standards for performance that reflect the challenging work that they do every day. Using performance data collected through teacher evaluation, the department will ensure that all educators meet and maintain minimum standards of performance.

How will the changes improve the licensure process?

The proposed changes make the process of earning and maintaining an educator license more efficient, clear and connected to performance. The changes:

  • Significantly reduce paperwork for licensure renewal and advancement
  • Minimize processing time required to issue a license
  • Connect performance expectations to licensure

For almost all educators (we estimate over 95%), licenses will be advanced and renewed automatically.  A new data system is being developed that will allow advancement and renewal to be completed electronically.

On what basis will a license be advanced or renewed?

On January 31, 2014, the Tennessee State Board of Education voted to rescind parts of the new policy related to advancement and renewal criteria.  We anticipate that the Board will approve new policy language in the near future.  Updates will be posted as soon as they become available. 

What are the proposed requirements for initial licensure?

On January 31, 2014, the Tennessee State Board of Education voted to rescind parts of the new policy related to advancement and renewal criteria.  We anticipate that the Board will approve new policy language in the near future.  Updates will be posted as soon as they become available. 

How will the structure of licensure change?

On January 31, 2014, the Tennessee State Board of Education voted to rescind parts of the new policy related to advancement and renewal criteria.  We anticipate that the Board will approve new policy language in the near future.  Updates will be posted as soon as they become available. 

How will the duration of licenses change?

On January 31, 2014, the Tennessee State Board of Education voted to rescind parts of the new policy related to advancement and renewal criteria.  We anticipate that the Board will approve new policy language in the near future.  Updates will be posted as soon as they become available. 

When will these changes go into effect?

On January 31, 2014, the Tennessee State Board of Education voted to rescind parts of the new policy related to advancement and renewal criteria.  We anticipate that the Board will approve new policy language in the near future.  Updates will be posted as soon as they become available. 

Questions or Comments?

If you can't find the information you are seeking about redesigned licenure policy, or if you have general comments you would like to share with the department, please send an email to one of the following addresses:

Send questions to:    Redesign.Questions@tn.gov

Send comments to:    Redesign.Comments@tn.gov

Current Rules and Policies

To view the current rules and policies for teacher licensure, visit the website for the State Board of Education.

Last Update: July 30, 2014