D.C. Public Schools admits approximately 1,000 educators unlicensed

WASHINGTON, D.C. – D.C. Public Schools admits that approximately 1,000 educators, or a quarter of their teaching staff, are not licensed, even though the Office of the State Superintendent requires that they should be.

Several parents expressed frustration on social media after learning the news.

“It’s almost like going to a doctor that’s not licensed, obviously not on that scale, but it’s very relatable in that aspect, so it’s very concerning,” said a parent who asked DCW50 not to be a identified.

In a statement sent to DCW 50 on Friday, a DCPS spokeswoman said:

“DCPS works hard to have a highly effective teacher in every classroom. Ensuring teachers have a license is one of many components we look at to determine whether teachers are meeting our high standards. That’s why we have a robust selection process that includes a background check. Once hired, our rigorous IMPACT teacher evaluation system along with LEAP, our targeted professional development program, allows DCPS to recruit, develop, and retain the best educators in the country. We will continue to hold our teachers to high standards, and we are partnering with OSSE to ensure more teachers have active licenses or are in the process to obtain one before the start of the next school year.”

The D.C. State Board of Education President Karen Williams said she just learned of the numbers this week. She knew some teachers were unlicensed but did not know how many.

“I think that everybody should be certified who teaches in DCPS because that’s the rule,” she says.

Williams says when she started teaching with DCPS she was not licensed, but had to get her certification within her first three years. She believes it’s important but does not determine the quality of a teacher.

“If the children don’t respond to you as a person or you don’t put the emphasis on the classroom and work, then I don’t care how many certifications you have, I don’t want you teaching my child.”

The Office of the State Superintendent also released a statement about the findings:

“In March 2016, OSSE instituted regulations which created additional, new pathways for DCPS educators to become licensed. This past winter, OSSE conducted a deep analysis into licensure at DCPS. Based on what was learned during that analysis, OSSE has been working with DCPS on a plan to fully comply with the new licensing regulations.”