Washington State
House of Representatives
Office of Program Research
Education Committee
SB 5180
Brief Description: Adopting the interstate teacher mobility compact.
Sponsors: Senators Hunt, Hawkins and Mullet.
Brief Summary of Bill
  • Adopts the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact.
Hearing Date: 3/20/23
Staff: Megan Wargacki (786-7194).

The residency teacher certificate is Washington's initial teacher license.  Applicants for this certificate must possess a bachelor's degree; complete an assessment in the basic skills of reading, writing, and mathematics; pass a content knowledge assessment; undergo a criminal history record check; and:

  • for in-state applicants, complete a Professional Educator Standards Board-approved teacher preparation program in Washington; and
  • for out-of-state applicants, either:
    • complete any state's approved teacher preparation program through an accredited institution, or an approved alternate route program, that includes a defined course of study and a supervised student teaching internship; or
    • provide verification of an out-of-state teacher certificate and three years of out-of-state teaching experience.

An out-of-state applicant for the residency teacher certificate may be issued a one-year temporary permit pending verification of completion of the assessment requirements, so long as the applicant provides verification of requirements for education, experience, or both.
In addition, Washington has multiple other teacher certificates, such as the professional certificate and the career and technical education certificate, with various requirements that may differ for in-state and out-of-state applicants.
The Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) is Washington's teacher licensing authority.  Among other things, the PESB is required to:

  • specify the types and kinds of certificates to be issued and the conditions for certification;
  • grant professional certification to any teacher who either attains certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards or who has an advanced level teacher certificate from another state that has been determined to be comparable to the Washington professional certificate;
  • identify an expedited professional certification process for out-of-state teachers who have five years or more of successful teaching experience; and
  • establish procedures to expedite the issuance of educator certificates to people:  who are licensed as educators in another state where the licensure requirements are substantially equivalent to that required for certification in Washington; whose spouse is the subject of a military transfer to Washington; and who left employment in the other state to accompany their spouse to Washington.

The Council of State Governments (CSG) and the United States Department of Defense partnered with the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification and other organizations to develop an interstate compact for the purposes of creating teacher license reciprocity among member states and reducing barriers to teacher license portability and teacher employment.   To join the interstate compact, a state must enact into law language that is substantially similar to the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact model legislation.

Summary of Bill:

The stated purpose of the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact (Compact) is to facilitate the mobility of teachers across the member states, with the goal of supporting teachers through a new pathway to licensure.  It is further specified that, through the Compact, the member states seek to establish a collective regulatory framework that expedites and enhances the ability of teachers to move across state lines.  By joining the Compact, member states ratify additional specified intentions, such as facilitating and enhancing the exchange of licensure, investigative, and disciplinary information between the member states.
Effective Date.  The Compact is effective on the date on which the Compact statute is enacted into law in the tenth member state.
Teacher Licensure Under the Compact.  Licensure under the Compact pertains only to the initial grant of a license by the receiving state. 
Each member state must compile a list of eligible licenses that the state is willing to consider for equivalency and provide this list to the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact Commission (Commission) established under the Compact.  An "eligible license" means a teacher license that requires at least a bachelor's degree and the completion of a state approved program for teacher licensure.
A teacher eligible to receive a license under the Compact must undergo a criminal background check in the receiving state and provide the receiving state with information in addition to the information required for licensure for the purposes of determining compensation, if applicable.
Upon receipt of an application for licensure by a teacher holding an unencumbered license, the receiving state's licensing authority must determine which, if any, of the state's eligible licenses the applicant teacher is qualified to hold.  An "unencumbered license" means a current, valid authorization issued by a member state's licensing authority allowing an individual to serve as a teacher in prekindergarten through grade 12 (preK-12) public educational settings.  An "unencumbered license" is not a restricted, probationary, provisional, substitute, or temporary credential.  The receiving state must grant the applicant an unencumbered license, if the receiving state has a license that is equivalent to the license held by the applicant in another member state.
For active military members and eligible military spouses who hold a license that is not unencumbered, the receiving state must grant the applicant a license that is equivalent to the license held by the applicant in another member state, except where the receiving state does not have an equivalent license.
For a teacher holding an unencumbered career and technical education (CTE) license, the receiving state must grant an unencumbered license equivalent to the CTE license held by the applicant and issued by another member state, except where a CTE teacher does not hold a bachelor's degree and the receiving state requires a bachelor's degree for a CTE license.  In addition, a receiving state may require CTE teachers to meet state industry recognized requirements.
A member state may require a teacher renewing a license received under the Compact to complete state specific requirements as a condition of licensure renewal or advancement.   
Teacher Discipline and Adverse Actions.  A member state has the authority to investigate or impose disciplinary measures on teachers according to state practice laws.
The state is authorized to receive, and must provide, files and information regarding the investigation and discipline of teachers in other member states upon request, subject to specified disclosure and data security conditions.
Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact Commission.  The Commission is established as a
joint interstate governmental agency comprised of states that have enacted the Compact. 
The composition and powers of the Commission and its executive committee are specified, for example:

  • Each member state is entitled to one commissioner, who is the primary administrative officer of the state licensing authority or their designee.  The Commission has the power to establish a term of office, a code of ethics, bylaws, rules, a budget, and an executive committee to act on behalf of the Commission.
  • Each commissioner has one vote on Commission rules and bylaws.  It is specified that the rules of the Commission have the force and effect of law and are binding on member states. 
  • The Commission may collect an annual assessment from each member state or impose fees on other parties to cover the cost of the operations and activities of the Commission.

Limits of the Compact.  The Compact is not a waiver of sovereign immunity.
A member state maintains ownership of its information pertaining to teachers and may govern ownership, use, and dissemination of information pertaining to teachers.
A member state's authority to enter into agreements with other jurisdictions related to awarding teacher licenses, awarding other benefits based on additional professional credentials, or participating in the exchange of names of teachers whose license has been subject to an adverse action by a member state is not superseded by the Compact.
Additional Provisions.  The Compact also includes provisions related to Compact enforcement, withdrawal, amendment, and severability, among other topics.

Appropriation: None.
Fiscal Note: Available.
Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed. The Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact is effective on the date on which the Compact statute is enacted into law in the tenth member state.