‘Emergency’ Teaching Licenses nearly triple over the past decade in Wisconsin

Over 3,100 emergency licenses have been issued last school year in Wisconsin
Teacher shortage in NE Wisconsin is severe
Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 5:07 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) The number of emergency teaching licenses issued in our state hits an all time high. The national teacher shortage is being felt in classrooms in Northeast Wisconsin.

A four year bachelor’s degree, and a hiring agreement with an employer, are the two requirements to apply for an emergency teaching license. The state Department of Public Instruction says after the license is issued the teacher has to then earn credits through training and make progress in order to renew it for another year.

“It allows districts to meet needs for their staffing and students while those individuals are completing training,” said Jennifer Kammerud, the Director for the Wisconsin DPI. “As for what’s happening in the classroom, we have a lot of wonderful teachers and districts know who they’re hiring.”

Kristin Lytie, the Wisconsin Education Association Council’s Region 3 director, says while she’s glad the staffing issue is being addressed, she would like to see more long-term solutions.

“To get more staff, we have to make teaching attractive as a career again,” said Lytie. “We have to make sure we’re paying a living wage with reasonable healthcare costs. We’re bringing these people in and supporting them so they know what to do. They’re not just flung in on an emergency license and told ‘make it work.’”

The DPI says teaching salaries and benefits have decreased over the past decade, which is likely contributing to the number of educators leaving the profession.

“I was just talking with a woman last night who’s an amazing elementary educator and she’s leaving us. She’s going to Target, because they’ll help pay for her masters,” said Lytie.

Lytie says she hopes the 2023-24 state budget will help turn things around and make teaching a more alluring career, versus filling in the gaps with one-year licenses.