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ERIC Number: ED498456
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep
Pages: 43
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 71
Preparing and Licensing High Quality Teachers in Pacific Region Jurisdictions. Issues & Answers. REL 2007-No. 031
Heine, Hilda C.; Emesiochl, Masa Akii
Regional Educational Laboratory Pacific
The provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 for teacher quality direct that all students in U.S. public schools be taught by highly qualified teachers. Although the Pacific Region entities are trying to meet this teacher-quality mandate, most are still far from fulfilling the minimum education requirements for their teachers. By creating an accurate picture of teacher preparation and licensing across the Pacific Region, which includes 10 jurisdictions and the national government of the Federated States of Micronesia, this report provides educators and policymakers with knowledge that they can use in addressing teacher quality, preparation, and licensing. Teachers in Pacific Region entities are far from meeting even the minimum education requirement for certification except in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Under-certified teachers are a particularly severe problem in Palau, in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and in Micronesia. Additionally, the share of certified teachers is decreasing in six of the eight entities with data for comparison. The number of graduates from institutions of higher education in the region is inadequate to meet needs to recruit new teachers and replace retirees. The choice of state-approved teacher preparation programs is largely limited to programs offered by two-year accredited community colleges. Each ministry or department of education also organizes professional development programs geared to meeting the unique needs of teachers in each entity. Summer teacher training programs are the most important professional development opportunities for teachers in all the Pacific Region entities. The greatest need for in-service training and professional development is in areas where many teachers are not certified and have less preparation for teaching. Teacher preparation programs are constrained by the remoteness of island communities and the distances from schools to central offices and community colleges. Training for teachers to meet minimum education standards has thus been limited to summer programs and programs offered through distance learning or hybrid models (some courses online and some face-to-face) that provide bachelor-level training for cohorts of teachers and administrators. Many teachers and administrators complete the cohort programs. Even so, teacher retirement and attrition keep the number of teachers with four-year degrees small, and these off-island programs are temporary, of limited duration, and expensive. Prompted by NCLB's teacher-quality mandate, Pacific Region state education agencies have intensified their review of teacher certification and licensing procedures. Over the past two years more than half the entities have revamped their teacher certification system and many are using teacher tests to determine teacher knowledge, but, of the entities covered in this report, only the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam have teacher certification and licensing systems to track teacher professional development and performance. Other entities find it necessary to include emergency or provisional certificates in teacher certification requirements. Processes for reviewing and approving teacher preparation programs are also not well established in the Pacific region, and quality assurance processes are lacking. Three related factors possibly contribute to the need for more highly-qualified teachers in the Pacific Region and are recommended for further study: (1) Limited supply of new teachers in teacher training programs; (2) Limited availability of teacher training programs geared to meet Pacific Region needs; and (3) Limited implementation of policies to prepare and certify high quality teachers. The report includes five appendixes: (A) Methodology; (B) Documents Reviewed; (C) Approved State Teacher Preparation Programs and Institutions in the Pacific Region; (D) Associate of Science Degree in Elementary Education at the College of the Marshall Islands; and (E) Third-Year Certificate in Teach Preparation at the College of Micronesia. (Contains 4 endnotes, 1 box, and 9 tables.) [This report was prepared for the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences (IES) by Regional Educational Laboratory Pacific administered by Pacific Resources for Education and Learning.]
Regional Educational Laboratory Pacific. Available from: Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL). 900 Fort Street Mall Suite 1300, Honolulu, HI 96813-3718. Tel: 800-377-4773; Tel: 808-441-1385; Fax: 888-512-7599; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: American Samoa; Federated States of Micronesia; Guam; Marshall Islands; Northern Mariana Islands; Palau
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001
IES Funded: Yes