Part I: What the new teacher licensing standards mean for educators
Gov. Tim Walz’s Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) proposed amendments to the rules governing teacher licensure in Minnesota. These changes are expected to be formally adopted later this winter or early spring and then go into effect on July 1, 2024. Unfortunately, the approved changes politicize teacher training requirements. Now, educators are wondering how these changes will impact their profession. Here’s what you need to know.
“I am looking to get a Minnesota teaching license. How do these changes affect me?”
The rule changes will require teacher candidates completing initial licensure programs in Minnesota to complete the newly amended Standards of Effective Practice through their teacher preparation program.
These Standards will require candidates to demonstrate the following in their coursework:
“affirm” student identities including sex and gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation and “incorporate” them into a learning environment;
“understand” how “ethnocentrism, eurocentrism, deficit-based teaching, and white supremacy undermine pedagogical equity”;
“assess” their “biases” and “mitigate their own behavior to disrupt oppressive systems”;
“empower” learners “to be agents of social change to promote equity.”
(Read more about what teacher candidates will have to demonstrate here.)
Aspiring educators may rethink pursuing this profession because of concerns about what they will have to embrace and demonstrate. There is also concern these changes will exacerbate the teacher shortage.
Even if the candidate plans on teaching at a private school or other non-public learning environment, the changes will impact what they have to demonstrate in order to be licensed through the state.
“I currently have a Minnesota teaching license. How do these changes affect me?”
The rule changes will require existing teachers seeking an initial Tier 3 license through the licensure via portfolio process (i.e., adult learners) to show how they met the amended Standards of Effective Practice through prior coursework, professional development, work and teaching experience, or other means.
Even if the teacher seeking an initial Tier 3 license via portfolio plans on teaching at a private school or other non-public learning environment, these changes will impact what they have to demonstrate in order to be licensed through the state.
The rule changes will not affect teachers who already hold a Tier 3 or Tier 4 license or who have already completed a teacher preparation program. They will also not affect teachers on a Tier 1 or Tier 2 license who don’t intend to complete teacher preparation or licensure via the portfolio process.
According to PELSB, the changes to the Standards of Effective Practice are not a license renewal requirement; however, it remains unclear whether future interpretations by the board may indirectly embed them into cultural competency training, which is a renewal requirement. It is important for teachers to know “a training does not have to be PELSB approved to fulfill the cultural competency renewal requirement,” according to the board’s website.
“Do the rule changes affect K-12 academic standards and benchmarks?”
No. Education standards are reviewed and revised by the Minnesota Department of Education.
“Do the rule changes affect curriculum?”
No. Minnesota school boards select curriculum.
Let’s stand together to promote our common humanity and challenge imposition of an illiberal worldview that treats students and teachers as mere representatives of their race and gender groups instead of as unique, complex individuals. Let’s stand together to support and empower good teachers as they strive to help all students succeed.
Because this is new policy, these interpretations are based on the best information we have at this time. We will continue to monitor any changes or interpretations from PESLB as they formally adopt these licensure rule changes.
Are you an aspiring educator or current educator concerned these rule changes violate your personal, religious beliefs and convictions? Please reach out to our coalition for support using the contact information below.
Download a PDF with similar information and clickable links here.