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EDUCATION STANDARDS AND PRACTICES BOARD
[NDCC Section 15.1-13-02]
               
The Education Standards and Practices Board is the independent educator licensing board charged with licensing of teachers, adopting standards for teacher preparation programs, developing and adopting codes of professional ethics, and conducting professional practices and performance standards for teachers.  It determines approval of teacher education programs and professional staff development for North Dakota's colleges and universities, monitors the profession through the educator's code of ethics and professional practices, and recommends in-service education programming for teachers. In partnership with the National Board Certification program, the Board provides scholarships and other services for North Dakota educators. 

In 1879 certificates of qualification were granted by the Superintendent of Public Instruction (S. L. 1863, Ch. 41) to those wishing to teach in public schools. The Superintendent also suggested to the county superintendents of schools specific subject matter for the teachers’ examination, which became the basis on which a certificate would be issued (S. L. 1879, Ch. 14). After 1890 the Superintendent was required to prepare all of the questions for the exam (S. L. 1890, Ch. 62). An initiated measure on the November 11, 1920 ballot required the Superintendent to certify all individuals teaching in the public school system.

In 1965 the Teachers’ Professional Practices Commission [NDCC 15-38-17] was created (S. L. 1965, Ch. 139). Initially the Commission, along with the Superintendent of Public Instruction, developed and revised professional codes or standards relating to ethics and conduct for teachers (S. L. 1965, Ch. 139). The Century Code required that the Commission establish grounds for and the effect of “revocation” for those certified [NDCC 15-36-15]. It investigated complaints against teachers and filed formal complaints with the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Commission revised certification standards, developing a professional code of ethics, and recommended in-service training. The Commission was responsible for handling complaints against teachers holding valid North Dakota certificates and for conducting necessary investigations and making recommendations for disciplinary action to the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The nine member Board was selected from a list of nominees submitted by the North Dakota Education Association (NDEA). 

On July 1, 1973 all members of the TPCC were required to resign. The Governor appointed new members from a list provided by the North Dakota Education Association, the North Dakota School Boards Association, the North Dakota Association of School Administrators, and the State Board of Public School Education. Members served three-year terms and each year the Commission selected a chairman and vice chairman. The Superintendent of Public Instruction served as secretary (S. L. 1973, Ch. 150). The Commission continued to be located within the Department of Public Instruction. The TPCC was charged to formulate, review, and revise codes that related to issues of ethics, conduct, and professional practices (S. L. 1973, Ch. 150). The Commission investigated complaints, proposed solution alternatives, and formulated standards of teaching performance and disciplinary measures and advised the Superintendent on policies and procedures for issuing certificates. Commission recommendations were then submitted to the Superintendent. Additionally, legislation amended and reenacted six sections of the Century Code allowing the Superintendent of Public Instruction to set up criteria for teachers’ certificate examinations. Recommendations were made to the Superintendent by the Commission. The standards were to be based on standards such as “character, adequate educational preparation, and general fitness to teach in the public school”.  All teachers in the public school system were required to be certified by the Superintendent of Public Instruction. In 1985 the legislature amended the Century Code relating to the duties of the TPPC by recommending an in-service education program for teachers. The Superintendent of Public Instruction either concurred or vetoed a proposal of the TPCC and returned it to the Commission prior to any action (S. L. 1985. Ch. 216). 

In 1993 the Teachers’ Professional Practices Commission became the Educational Standards and Practices Board. Legislation allowed for the addition of the Administrator’s Professional Practices Board [NDCC 15-38-17]. The ESPB was authorized to supervise certification and set and approve standards for the teacher preparation program [NDCC 15-38-18]. Legislation no longer required the Governor to fill vacancies from the statewide organizations of North Dakota Education Association, North Dakota Council of School Administrators, North Dakota School Boards Association, and the Deans of College Education (S. L. 1993, Ch. 3). The Governor appointed nine members to the Board and each member served for three years.  Statewide organizations provided to the Governor lists with three names from their respective professions.  Selections were to include four public school teachers and one private school teacher chosen as members supplied from a list supplied by the NDEA and one school board member was chosen by a list submitted by the North Dakota School Boards Association. Two school administrators were selected from the list provided by the North Dakota Council on School Administrators and one dean from a college education department was chosen from a list submitted by the Deans of Colleges of Education. Each year the Board chose a chairman and vice chairman.  An executive director was hired as secretary to serve in place of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.   Legislation directed the Education Standards and Practices Board to supervise the certification of teachers and to set standards and approve teacher preparation programs. A five-member board called the Administrator’s Professional Practices Board was chosen from within the Education Standards and Practices Board. The Administrator’s Professional Practices Board consisted of two school administrators, one school board member, and two teachers. All members served for three years and each year selected a chairman and adopted the rules of order and procedures [NDCC 15-38-16 to15-38-19].  Authority of the Board included responding to complaints against school administrators. After July 1, 1995 the Superintendent of Public Instruction was no longer responsible for accepting or rejecting the work of the Board relating to the rules and procedures that occurred in the issuing of certificates (S. L. 1993, Ch. 171).
               
Legislation allowed the Board to enter into reciprocal agreements with other states for teacher preparation programs. Each year the Board named a chairman and vice chairman from its membership.  

Since 1995, the ESPB has operated as an independent Board with the responsibility of teacher licensure, teacher education program approval, and the development of professional practices. The Board, appointed by the Governor, is comprised of educators, administrators, school board members, and teacher educators committed to assuring highly qualified educators for all North Dakota students. Ten educators, administrators, school board members, and teacher educators were appointed by the Governor to serve three-year terms. Other 1995 legislation authorized the Board with the responsibility of certifying teachers and courses of study for the North Dakota American Indian Languages program (S. L. 1995, Ch. 186).  License fees fund the actions of the Board. The Department of Public Instruction was assigned temporary fiscal management of the Education Standards and Practices Board (S. L. 1995, Ch.189) until fiscal responsibility transferred to Board on July 1, 1997. Supervision of teachers (S. L. 1999, Ch. 162) replaced issuing teacher’s certificates as the primary responsibility of the Board. The Board supplied minor equivalency endorsements for teachers (S. L. 1999, Ch. 172).

In 2001 legislation re-wrote the Century Code by repealing [NDCC 15-38-17] and creating [NDCC 15.1-13]. The Governor selected ten ESPB members from lists provided by statewide organizations. Board membership included the Superintendent or designee to serve as a nonvoting ex-officio member [NDCC 15.1-13-02]. The Administrator’s Professional Practices Board increased to six members (S. L. 2001, Ch. 181).  

In 2009 the legislature required the State Board of Public School Education, the State Board of Higher Education, the Education Standards and Practices Board, and the State Board of Career and Technical Education to work toward providing professional growth and development opportunities for all instructors and to hold annual meetings with the State Board of Higher Education (S. L. 2009, Ch. 31). A request for seeking a cooperative effort in developing a unified system of teacher licensure and credential qualifications or reciprocity between the DPI, the states of Minnesota, Montana, and South Dakota passed (S. L. 2009, Ch. 65). In 2011 the reciprocal acceptance of teaching licenses was repealed (S. L. 2011, Ch. 135).

CHRONOLOGY

1965       Prior to 1965 the responsibility of certification was under the direction of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and in 1965 a nine member Board was created and called the Teachers Professional Practices Commission, members were appointed by the Governor from names were provided from a list of nominees submitted by the North Dakota Education Association. The goal of the Commission was to develop and revise professional codes and standards relating primarily to the issues of ethics and conduct and to investigate complaints against teachers. All formal complaints were sent to the Superintendent of Public Instruction (S. L. 1965, Ch. 139).

1973       Members serving on the Commission were to be replaced and new members selected from statewide organizations including the North Dakota Education Association and the North Dakota School Boards Association, the North Dakota Association of School Administrators and a member from the State Board of Public School Education. Commission members advised the Superintendent of Public Instruction about rules for issuing teachers’ certificates (S. L. 1973, Ch. 150).

1981 Members selected by the Governor included four public school classroom teachers, two school board members, two school administrators, and a member nominated by the State Board of Public School Education (S. L. 1981, Ch. 189).

1985       The Teachers Professional Practices Commission was given additional duties and additional authority given to the Superintendent of Public Instruction concerning actions taken by the Commission (S. L. 1985, Ch. 216).

1993       The name Teachers’ Professional Practices Commission was changed to Education Standards and Practices Board (ESPB) and the Governor appointed nine members to the ESPB for three-year terms.  Legislation also expanded the duties of the ESPB and from within the ESPB a five-member board known as the Administrator’s Professional Practices Board was created. Authority was given to investigate complaints against not only teachers but also against school administrators. The Superintendent of Public Instruction was no longer a part of the complaint process (S. L. 1993, Ch. 171) and the Governor no longer filled vacancies from a list submitted by the North Dakota Education Association, the North Dakota Council of School Administrators, the North Dakota School Boards Association, and Deans of Colleges of Education (S. L. 1993, Ch. 3).   

1995       Guidelines for certification involving the North Dakota American Indian Languages program was added as a new section to the Century Code (S. L. 1995, Ch. 186). The Department of Public Instruction was assigned the temporary fiscal management over the ESPB (S. L. 1995, Ch. 189) until 1997 when the responsibility was transferred to Education Standards and Practices Board.

1999       Supervising teachers became the primary responsibility of the ESPB (S. L. 1999, Ch. 162).  Legislation provided for the Board to issue minor equivalency endorsements for teachers (S. L. 1999, Ch. 172).

2001       Legislation repealed [NDCC15-38] and replaced it with [NDCC 15.1-13-02]. The composition of the number of the school board members who served on the ESPB Board changed as did the Administrator’s Professional Practices Board (S. L. 2001, Ch. 181).         

2009       Legislation required the Education Standards Practices Board, the State Board of Public School Education, the State Board of Higher Education, and the State Board of Career and Technical Education to meet annually and cooperate on providing professional growth and development opportunities for teachers (S. L. 2009, Ch. 31). Legislation repealed the cooperative effort in developing a unified system of teacher licensure and credential qualifications or reciprocity between the DPI, the states of Minnesota, Montana, and South Dakota (S. L. 2009, Ch. 65).

2011       The reciprocal acceptance of teaching licenses was repealed (S. L. 2011, Ch. 135).
               
SERIES

30401 Teachers Certificates.
31571 Applications for Certification.
31994 History File.

SOURCES

Education Standards and Practices Board Website.
Gray, David P.  Guide to the North Dakota State Archives, 1985.
Laws of Dakota Territory.
North Dakota Century Code.
North Dakota Secretary of State Blue Book.
North Dakota State Legislature Session Laws.

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