Will MN teachers have to ‘demonstrate’ divisive content to obtain license?

Administrative Law Judge Jim Mortenson will likely issue an order in late October/early November on whether the controversial proposed licensing rule changes from Gov. Tim Walz’s Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) will be adopted.

Given that there is conflict between the proposed rules and state law, American Experiment is hopeful Judge Mortenson will reject the proposed draft rules and indicate that PELSB cannot adopt them as they are currently written.

Public opposition has been overwhelming, with the proposed changes even receiving national attention. After seven hours of Minnesotans commenting during the Aug. 24 public hearing, with opposition to support 7:1, 455 comments — again, mostly in opposition — were uploaded through the Office of Administrative Hearing’s online portal during the public comment period. The Child Protection League has a great “Comment Highlights” section here, calling attention to the variety of organizations and individuals who submitted comments against the proposed rules.

Now, we wait to hear from ALJ Mortenson, which PELSB anticipates will be in late October or early November. American Experiment will keep you posted as soon as the ALJ’s order is issued.

Background

Included in the proposed amendments to Minnesota’s licensure rules for teachers are changes to the Standards of Effective Practice — which aspiring educators must “demonstrate” in their licensure program coursework within the 35 different teacher preparation providers in the state.

According to PELSB, the Standards of Effective Practice identify the “fundamental knowledge and skills needed to ensure Minnesota’s teachers are prepared to teach all of Minnesota’s students.” Unfortunately, the proposed changes politicize teacher training requirements, using language that is clearly political and ideological, not academic.

Proposed language includes:

  • “The teacher understands multiple theories of race and ethnicity, including but not limited to racial formation, processes of racialization, and intersectionality.”
  • “The teacher understands how ethno-centrism, eurocentrism, deficit-based teaching, and white supremacy undermine pedagogical equity.”
  • “The teacher understands that knowledge of creation, ways of knowing, and teaching are social and cultural practices shaped by race and ethnicity, often resulting in racially disparate advantages and disadvantages.”
  • “The teacher understands the impact of the intersection of race and ethnicity with other forms of difference, including class, gender, sexuality, religion, national origin, immigration status, language, ability, and age.”
  • “The teacher creates opportunities for students to learn about power, privilege, intersectionality, and systemic oppression in the context of various communities and empowers learners to be agents of social change to promote equity.”
  • “The teacher understands how prejudice, discrimination, and racism operates at the interpersonal, intergroup, and institutional levels.”
  • “The teacher assesses how their biases, perceptions, and academic training may affect their teaching practice and perpetuate oppressive systems and utilizes tools to mitigate their own behavior to disrupt oppressive systems.”