MN Teacher Licensing Bill Passed by House & Senate, Headed to Dayton

A bill to overhaul Minnesota’s teacher licensing system is headed to Governor Dayton’s desk. The Legislature passed the bill on a 76-54 vote in the House and a 36-31 vote in the Senate. Whether Dayton will sign the proposal or not remains unclear.

But why wouldn’t the governor sign the bill?

The current teacher licensing system is overly confusing and complex. A report by the Office of the Legislative Auditor stated, “Minnesota’s teacher-licensure system is broken and needs significant changes.”

State leaders are confident streamlining the licensing process will help attract and retain effective educators. And with a troublesome teacher shortage hitting Minnesota hard, fixing a broken licensure system is a long overdue step toward solving the complicated shortage problem.

“By streamlining and adding transparency to the teacher licensure process, we hope to address the teacher shortage in our state,” Rep. [Sondra] Erickson said [who is a former educator and chief author of the bill in the House]. “Clarifying teacher licensure in Minnesota will encourage more qualified and motivated people to become teachers, and increase the number of effective educators in our classrooms.”

“This is the most significant reform to teacher licensure in forty years. It’s been a bipartisan goal to make sure kids have high quality and effective teachers in the classroom, and this bill accomplishes that goal,” Sen. [Eric] Pratt added [who is chief author of the bill in the Senate].

Teachers who relocate to Minnesota, like Kimberly Baker who spoke to the Pioneer Press, are stymied under the current system despite their qualifications.

“I think (Dayton) needs to consider the out-of-state teachers who have the coursework and past licenses and make it [teaching licensure] more accessible.” [Baker stated.]

The state’s teachers union Education Minnesota wants the bill vetoed because “it makes it too easy for people with no formal teacher training to become licensed.” According to the Star Tribune, the new lower-tier teaching positions would not be unionized. Hmm.

Will this bill win the governor’s signature despite opposition from the union? Or will the veto frenzy continue?

UPDATE: Governor Dayton vetoed the Educator Licensing bill.