May 20, 2017

A Guide to Proposed Teacher Licensure Changes

Last year, a groundbreaking report from the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Affairs confirmed what educators and their advocates had long known: “Minnesota’s teacher licensure system is broken and needs significant changes.” Following this report and public outcry from teachers eager, but unable, to bring their talents and expertise to Minnesota classrooms, policymakers and advocates came together to find a solution to fix teacher licensure. Hundreds of meetings, countless negotiations, and many compromises later, the Legislature passed and sent HF140—a bipartisan proposal to make teacher licensure more transparent and fair—to Gov. Dayton this week. Many touted the bill as a rare bipartisan effort to fix a longstanding problem, with the Pioneer Press calling it, “one of the biggest reforms to state education policy in recent history.”

Although the governor vetoed the teacher licensure bill on Thursday, we are hopeful that he and the Legislature can still find a compromise. For Minnesota students and educators, meaningful changes to our broken teacher licensure system can’t come a moment too soon.

As legislators and the governor go back to the drawing board to hash out their differences, we want you to know exactly how the proposed teacher licensure changes would clarify and, in many instances, raise standards. We hope you’ll then take action, urging Gov. Dayton and the Legislature to find an agreement before session ends, ensuring that Minnesota students have access to the great educators they need.

Emergency licenses

Under HF140, untrained and unlicensed teachers would need to meet higher—and much clearer—standards than required under current law.

Under the Current Law:
Non-licensed Community Expert

 Applicant Requirements

None. Board of Teaching has full discretion to approve or reject a school’s application to hire a community expert.

Hiring School Requirements

Schools must complete a criminal background check. 

Terms and Renewals

One-year license with unlimited renewals.

Under HF140:
Tier 1


Applicant Requirements

Educators must hold a bachelor’s degree, or if teaching in career and technical education, have an associate’s degree, a professional credential, or five years of work experience in the content area.

Educators must take content exams, attend teacher mentorship and induction programs if available, and participate in teacher evaluations.

Hiring School Requirements

Schools must affirm the candidate has the necessary skills and knowledge and must demonstrate that they were unable to hire a higher tiered teacher.

Terms and Renewals

Limits permission to one year with a maximum of three renewals, unless schools can present a further need or if there is a teacher shortage.

Note: No changes to collective bargaining access.

Special permissions

Under HF140, licensed, near-licensed, or alternatively licensed teachers would have a clear path to teach outside of their content area, scope, or licensure designation as they pursue a standard, professional license.

Under the Current Law:
Initial, Limited, Personnel variance; Preliminary, Temporary limited; One-year full professional 

Applicant Requirements

Educators must hold a Minnesota teaching license, be working toward completing the requirements of a teaching license, or be teaching in a scope or content area where no Minnesota license exits.

With some exceptions in law, the Board of Teaching has discretion over which license an applicant can receive.

Terms and Renewals

Preliminary licenses are for two years with no renewability. All other licenses are for one year with differing renewability limits. Personnel variances can be renewed four times, and one-year full professional licenses can be renewed three times. The other licenses are mentioned in law or rule with contradicting, unclear, or unstated guidelines.

Under HF140:
Tier 2

 

Applicant Requirements

Educators must hold a bachelor’s degree, or if teaching in career and technical education, have an associate’s degree, a professional credential, or five years of work experience in the content area.

Educators must be enrolled in a Minnesota teacher preparation program, hold a master’s degree in the content area, or have completed two of the following: 8 upper division credits in content area; field-specific methods training; two-years teaching experience in content area; passing score on exams; completion of a state-approved teacher preparation program.

Educators must participate in mentorship and induction programs, if available, and evaluation program. 

Terms and Renewals

Limits license to two years with three renewals unless the Board writes rules to extend renewals.

Transitional licenses

Under HF140, teachers who have not fully completed the requirements for Minnesota licensure would be able to teach within their scope of expertise.

Under the Current Law:
Waiver

Applicant Requirements

Educators must pass all exams and human relations preparation components required by the Board of Teaching.

Educators must hold an out-of-state teaching license to teach content where no Minnesota license exists or holds a Minnesota license and teaches outside of licensed content area to accommodate certain types of programs.

Terms and Renewals

One-year license with unlimited renewability.

Under HF140:
Tier 3

Applicant Requirements

Educators must hold a bachelor’s degree, or, if teaching in career and technical education, have an associate’s degree, a professional credential, or five years of work experience in the content area.

Educators must receive passing scores on content and pedagogy exams.

Educators must participate in district mentorship program.

Educators must meet cultural competency requirements when they renew their license.

Educators must have done one of the following: completed a Minnesota teacher preparation program; completed a state-approved teacher preparation program with field-specific student teaching or two years of teaching experience; submitted an application for licensure via portfolio; hold an out-of-state license with two years of teaching experience; completed three years teaching experience in Tier 2 with successful summative evaluations; completed five years of teaching experience as the teacher of record in another state.

Terms and Renewals

Three-year license with unlimited renewability.

Professional licenses

Under HF140, full, standard professional licenses—the most commonly issued license type—would have clear standards that recognize experience and effectiveness along with training.

Under the Current Law:
Full professional license

Applicant Requirements

Educators must pass all exams and human relations preparation components required by the Board of Teaching.

Educators must have successfully completed a Minnesota teacher preparation program or held an out-of-state teaching license to teach a similar content field and grade levels.

Educators must have completed field-specific methods, student teaching, or have at least two years of teaching experience.

Terms and Renewals

Five-year license with unlimited renewability.

Under HF140:
Tier 4

Applicant Requirements

Educators must hold a Tier 3 license.

Educators must receive passing scores on all exams.

Educators must have three years of teaching experience in Minnesota.

Educators’ most recent summative teacher evaluation cannot have placed them on an improvement plan.

Educators must meet cultural competency requirements.

Educators must meet the coursework for a state-approved teacher preparation programs.

Terms and Renewals

Five-year license with unlimited renewability.