HF 3132 passes in House Education Innovation Policy today; moves to House Education Finance Committee Wednesday
MSBA’s Teacher Shortage Act was heard in the Minnesota House Education Innovation Policy Committee this morning. Chair Sondra Erickson, chief author of House File (HF 3132), and her committee listened to several testifiers on key pieces of the bill after MSBA’s Denise Dittrich and Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals’ (MASSP) Roger Aronson introduced and highlighted the bill.
Beth Giese, superintendent of Cannon Falls Area Schools, described the decline of teacher applicants in her school district during the five years she has led the district. Once thought of as an abundance of teachers, even finding a teacher in the area of elementary education has dwindled. Giese said she has noticed an even greater discrepancy in special education, specifically with academic behavioral strategies and vision.Geise pointed to lack of teacher preparation programs as one of the reasons for teacher shortages. She said the bill’s grants and loan forgiveness would help eliminate barriers to those seeking to teach that have financial hardships. “My sister is a doctor and my brother is a pipefitter,” Geise said. “Both had paid internships as a part of their professional path. Don’t our teachers deserve the same?”
Coming from the fifth-largest school district in the state, Dr. Kate Maguire, superintendent of Osseo Area Schools, shared how her district is very racially diverse. “Osseo Area Schools ranks third in the state for the highest number of students of color,” said Maguire, also citing that Osseo Area’s support staff is 5 percent of color and the administration is 11 percent of color. “We have been unsuccessful in the teaching area with only 1 percent teachers of color.”
Osseo Area is making very deliberate efforts to build a diverse teaching workforce through summer internships and “teacher-rising” pathways, Maguire added.
Spring Lake Park Public Schools has implemented a new teacher induction program which provides new teachers with a partner and team-teaching approach. Ryan Stromberg, Spring Lake Park’s director of Human Resources and Organizational Development, said the program helps set teachers up for success and has a strong return on Teacher Development and Evaluation dollars. “If we don’t have teachers, we have no one to evaluate,” Stromberg said.
MSBA RESPONDS: The Teacher Shortage Act bill’s intent is to provide a solid framework with enough flexibility to allow school district officials to make decisions that will have a strong, local impact. This may be through retention or it may be through recruitment. The teacher shortage is not a rural issue or an urban issue — it is a statewide issue. This bill will provide relief to the teacher shortage issue.