6-17-422. Professional Licensure Standards Board.

   (a) There is established the Professional Licensure Standards Board.        

   (b)

         (1) The Professional Licensure Standards Board shall consist of fifteen (15) members appointed by the State Board of Education as follows:              

               (A) The Commissioner of Education or his or her designee, who shall serve as a nonvoting member;                    

               (B)

                     (i) Four (4) public school classroom teachers with a valid Arkansas teaching license who are recommended by the Arkansas Education Association.                          

                     (ii) The four (4) public school classroom teachers shall represent the four (4) congressional districts in Arkansas and include classroom teachers who are licensed and teach at:                          

                           (a) A licensure level of prekindergarten through grade four (preK-4);                                

                           (b) A licensure level of grades four through eight (4-8);                                

                           (c) A licensure level of grades seven through twelve (7-12); and                                

                           (d) Any licensure level to serve in one (1) at-large position;                                

               (C)

                     (i) Four (4) persons with valid Arkansas teaching and administrator's licenses who represent the four (4) congressional districts in Arkansas and are recommended by the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators.                          

                     (ii)

                           (a) One (1) person shall hold a P-8 building-level leader license and serve as a middle-level building leader.                                

                           (b) Two (2) persons shall be public school superintendents with valid Arkansas teaching and administrator's licenses recommended by the Arkansas Association of School Administrators.                                

                           (c) One (1) person shall be a public school administrator with a valid Arkansas teaching and administrator's license recommended by the Arkansas Association of School Personnel Administrators;                                

               (D) One (1) nonvoting representative designated by the Department of Education from its offices of licensure and teacher quality recommended by the commissioner;                    

               (E)

                     (i) Three (3) deans of education from Arkansas institutions of higher education recommended by the Arkansas Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.                          

                     (ii)

                           (a) One (1) dean shall be from a private institution of higher education.                                

                           (b) One (1) dean shall be from a public institution of higher education.                                

                           (c) One (1) dean who has knowledge of licensure issues;                                

               (F) One (1) coordinator of educational leadership recommended by the Arkansas Professors of Educational Administration; and                    

               (G) One (1) curriculum program administrator recommended by the Arkansas Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development.                    

         (2)

               (A) The voting members of the Professional Licensure Standards Board shall elect annually one (1) of the voting members to serve as chair for one (1) year.                    

               (B) The chair shall serve as a nonvoting member during his or her term as chair, however, the chair may vote in the case of a tie.                    

   (c)

         (1) The State Board of Education shall consider all recommendations under subdivision (b)(1) of this section submitted to the secretary of the State Board of Education by June 30, 2007, for the initial board and by June 30 of each year in which the term of a Professional Licensure Standards Board member expires.              

         (2) If a recommendation for a person qualified to fill a position on the Professional Licensure Standards Board is not received by the deadline, the State Board of Education may appoint any qualified person to fill the position.              

   (d)

         (1)

               (A) Each member of the Professional Licensure Standards Board shall serve a term of three (3) years.                    

               (B) The initial members shall draw lots for staggered terms.                    

         (2) The State Board of Education shall appoint any qualified person to fill a position that is vacated before the expiration of a member's term.              

   (e) The appointed members of the Professional Licensure Standards Board shall be residents of this state at the time of appointment and throughout their terms.        

   (f)

         (1) The Professional Licensure Standards Board shall meet at times and places the chair deems necessary, but no meetings shall be held outside of this state.              

         (2) A majority of the members of the Professional Licensure Standards Board shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of transacting business.              

         (3) All action of the Professional Licensure Standards Board shall be by a majority vote of the full membership of the Professional Licensure Standards Board.              

   (g)

         (1) Members of the Professional Licensure Standards Board shall serve without pay.              

         (2) Members of the Professional Licensure Standards Board may receive expense reimbursement in accordance with 25-16-902, to be paid by the Department of Education to the extent money is available for that purpose.              

   (h) The Professional Licensure Standards Board shall:        

         (1) Develop and recommend for adoption to the State Board of Education minimum college level preparatory and grade point average requirements for all teachers applying for initial licensure or additional licensure after July 1, 2007, that shall include minimum requirements for:              

               (A) Course of study;                    

               (B) Program approval;                    

               (C) Range of approved hours; and                    

               (D) In-class teaching internships or practice teaching hours;                    

         (2)

               (A) With the assistance of the Department of Education and the Department of Higher Education, review the audits of the teacher education programs offered by all institutions of higher education in the state to determine if the institutions' teacher education programs and courses of study are aligned as necessary to allow graduates of the teacher education program to become licensed under this act and the rules set by the State Board of Education.                    

               (B)

                     (i)

                           (a) To ensure alignment with standards in university course syllabi for licensure, the Department of Education shall conduct audits of licensure programs of study at all Arkansas institutions of higher education.                                

                           (b) The audits shall use state standards or national standards for licensure programs, or a combination of both.                                

                     (ii) The audits shall be conducted on a five-year cycle beginning on July 1, 2007 and provided to the Professional Licensure Standards Board.                          

                     (iii)

                           (a) Institutions of higher education that do not comply with the Department of Education's audit findings and recommendations shall have one (1) semester to bring programs into compliance with the audit recommendations and submit documentation of compliance to the Professional Licensure Standards Board.                                

                           (b) If the institution of higher education does not bring its program into compliance with audit recommendations, the Professional Licensure Standards Board shall submit a recommendation to the State Board of Education for discontinuance of the authority of the institution to offer the licensure program; and                                

         (3)

               (A) Establish a code of ethics for administrators and teachers in educational environments for students in prekindergarten through grade twelve (preK-12).                    

               (B) Upon the approval of the code of ethics, procedures, and recommendations for enforcement required by this subdivision (h)(3), the valid Arkansas teaching license of any person shall be subject to the conditions, requirements, and mandates of the code of ethics, procedures, and recommendations for enforcement.                    

               (C)

                     (i) The Professional Licensure Standards Board may recommend to the State Board of Education and the State Board of Education may approve the monetary fees to be paid by a person for the issuance, reissuance, fine, or penalty associated with the process, procedures, or enforcement of requirements necessary to issue or maintain an Arkansas teaching license.                          

                     (ii) Under no circumstances shall any one (1) specific fee or fine exceed one hundred dollars ($100).                          

                     (iii) Revenue collected by the State Board of Education from the fees and fines under this subdivision (h)(3)(C) shall be used for the operation of the Professional Licensure Standards Board.                          

               (D)

                     (i) The Professional Licensure Standards Board may:                          

                           (a) Establish procedures for receiving, considering, and investigating complaints referred by the Department of Education, a public school district, or a public school superintendent regarding the unethical behavior of licensed school personnel;                                

                           (b) Make recommendations for enforcement; and                                

                           (c) Establish an ethics subcommittee of the Professional Licensure Standards Board with equal representation of public school teachers and administrators as well as one (1) member from any other category of representation on the Professional Licensure Standards Board.                                

                     (ii) All rules, procedures, hearings, and appeals relating to the code of ethics required by this subsection (h) are subject to the Arkansas Administrative Procedure Act, 25-15-201 et seq.                          

   (i)

         (1) Except under subdivision (i)(4) of this section, all records and all hearings, meetings, and deliberations of the Professional Licensure Standards Board relating to an ethics complaint against an administrator or teacher under this section are confidential and exempt from the Freedom of Information Act of 1967, 25-19-101 et seq.              

         (2) All records pertaining to an ethics complaint under this subsection (i) shall be open for inspection and copying by the person against whom the complaint is lodged.              

         (3) The person against whom the complaint is lodged and his or her representative are entitled to be present at all hearings.              

         (4)

               (A) A hearing before the State Board of Education to consider the possible revocation, suspension, or other sanction of an administrator's or a teacher's license based on a recommendation of the Professional Licensure Standards Board for enforcement of an alleged ethics violation under this section, including without limitation an informal disposition by the State Board of Education of an ethics complaint under this section by stipulation, settlement, consent order, or default, is open to the public.                    

               (B) All records on which the State Board of Education relies at a hearing under this subdivision (i)(4) to make its decision are subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act of 1967, 25-19-101 et seq.                    


History..Acts 2007, No. 846,  3; 2009, No. 337,   14; 2009, No. 376,  26, 27; 2009, No. 938,  1.