Proposed teacher licensing changes draw overwhelming criticism, still time to comment

The divisive content that Gov. Tim Walz’s Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board wants aspiring educators to have to “demonstrate” to obtain their teaching license was heavily criticized by Minnesotans last Wednesday (Aug. 24).

The public hearing before PELSB and Administrative Law Judge Jim Mortenson lasted seven hours, with around 70 commenters speaking in opposition to the proposed rule changes and 11 in favor.

The virtual hearing had as many as 472 attendees tuning in during the morning, and over half remained until the hearing concluded at 4:00 p.m.

If the proposed amendments to the state’s licensure rule (R-4615) are approved, teachers who want to be licensed — even if they will teach at a private school — will have to “demonstrate” an ideologically driven worldview laced with Critical Race Theory, gender ideology, and identity politics.

Not only is the content of the proposed changes political and ideological in nature, not academic, but it is also not measurable and not written in a way that reflects good governance. There are many instances within the proposed rule changes where the word “understands” is used. This is not measurable and risks introducing subjectivity into deciding whether or not a teacher has adequately and completely demonstrated the required content in his or her teacher preparation program. Additionally, many words with varied definitions are included without sufficient corresponding definitions — words such as “power,” “privilege,” “oppressive systems,” “anti-racist,” “implicit bias,” “educational equity.” These words are also foundationally adversarial.

The proposed changes insist that teachers prioritize group identities with their students, encouraging concerning generalizations of cultures and ethnic groups. This risks students viewing themselves and their peers through a narrow and limiting perspective. The proposed language also makes concerning and insulting generalizations about our teachers — that they are to consider themselves as biased with intersecting oppressive identities and that they need to be trained on how to treat others of different demographics with respect and dignity, celebrate student diversity, etc.

Take action

Approval of the proposed rule changes is up to Administrative Law Judge Mortenson. He is accepting public comment until 4:30 p.m. on September 13.

Ways to comment:


Comments can be submitted here, through the Office of Administrative Hearing.

By U.S. mail

Comments can be mailed to:
Office of Administrative Hearings
Attn: Denise Collins
P.O. Box 64620
St. Paul, MN 55164

By fax

Comments can be faxed to 651-539-0310.