The Legislative Study Group on Educator Licensure met for the fifth time on Tuesday, October 25. The group — made up of six state senators and six state representatives — is discussing concerns raised by the Office of the Legislator Auditor (OLA) report on Minnesota Teacher Licensure. Talks centered on two main topics: (1) the governance of the teacher licensure process and (2) the development of a tiered licensure structure.
The meeting started with the Democrats presenting the highlights of a combined Democratic House and Senate proposal, followed by questions from study group members. Following this presentation, House Researcher Tim Strom presented a side-by-side comparison of the House Republican position, the combined DFL position, and the Senate Republican position.
The acting chair then offered an opportunity for stakeholders to present testimony. Testifiers from the Minnesota Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE), Education Minnesota, and Ed Allies presented testimony. Finally, the Republican members presented some changes that resulted from the House and Senate Republican members combining their proposals.
During the process, Adosh Unni, Minnesota Department of Education’s Government Relations Director, and Erin Doan, Executive Director of the Board of Teaching (BOT), answered questions from study group members. Additionally, the study group received eight different letters concerning the reactions of various educational stakeholders (including MSBA, which combined its thoughts with those of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators and the Association of Metropolitan School Districts) to the different proposals made at the previous meeting. These letters can be found online by accessing the study group’s website at http://www.lcc.leg.mn/lsgel/meetings.html and looking in the meeting materials section.
- The study group seems to agree to keep the licensing activities concerning school administrators and teachers separate from one another and are content to keep to current BOSA and MDE arrangement for the time being.
- The study group appears determined to change the current governance model for teacher licensing by combining the current activities of the Educator Licensing division at MDE with those of the current BOT. Disagreement seems to exist among stakeholders and study group members as whether this be best accomplished by being under the supervision of the Commissioner and MDE or the BOT. The OLA recommended the two entities be combined into one consolidated state entity with their preferred option having the activities consolidated into the BOT.
- The OLA also recommended that the Legislature should clarify Minnesota Statutes regarding teacher-licensure requirements, restructure the state’s teacher-licensure system to ensure consistency and transparency, and the BOT should clarify teacher-licensure rules and ensure they align with relevant statutes. As part of these recommendations, the OLA suggested the development of a tiered, teacher-licensing system. Based on the discussion at the study group session, the study group is in favor of such a system and will recommend one to the Legislature if the parties can come to an agreement on the design of the system.
The group’s next meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, November 16, at the Minnesota Senate Building in St. Paul.