House Education Finance Committee Chairman Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington), who sponsors the bill with Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Gen Olson (R-Minnetrista), said he is very pleased by the conference committee’s action and expects the House to take up the conference committee report as soon as the Senate votes on it. It is expected the governor will sign the bill into law if passed by both bodies.
The bill includes quality assurances, such as a content-specific examinations and performance assessments of teachers in both standard and alternative pathways to licensure, and grants the Board of Teaching authority to rescind an alternative teacher preparation program that fails to meet those or other requirements laid out in the bill.
Opponents of alternative pathways have said allowing teachers to be the teacher of record in a classroom without traditional education training, including 10 weeks of student teaching supervised by a licensed teacher, will compromise the quality of teaching.
Instead, Garofalo said, “This bill raises standards for teachers.”
Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul) said the bill will “signal strongly to the public” that all teachers will have strong content area knowledge “as we’re expecting more of our K-12 system.”
Alternative licensure candidates who meet all criteria would be granted a two-year limited license which the board may renew for an additional year, and may prepare for a standard teaching license. Candidates must have a 3.0 or higher grade-point average or a waiver from the board; pass basic reading, writing and math skills exams; and obtain qualifying scores on board-approved content and pedagogy exams.
Teachers with out-of-state licensure from accredited programs would also have a streamlined route to Minnesota licensure.