May 25, 2017

Take 2: A Guide to Proposed Teacher Licensure Changes

Last week, I wrote about HF140, a bipartisan proposal to make teacher licensure more transparent, clarify and, in many ways, raise standards, and create pathways for experienced educators into our classrooms. After Gov. Dayton vetoed the bill—calling for guaranteed funding and some minor policy tweaks—he and education leaders in the Legislature came together and negotiated an even stronger bipartisan compromise to fix our broken teacher licensure system. The new education funding omnibus bill, HF2, makes several improvements upon HF140, such as requiring cultural competency training for even our most experienced teachers and guaranteeing funding to support the new licensure system. In light of the changes made in response to the governor’s requests, below are updated tables detailing what teachers will need to accomplish before obtaining a license to teach in Minnesota schools.

HF2 has already passed both the House and Senate, and now just awaits Gov. Dayton’s signature.

Please take 30 seconds to thank Gov. Dayton for his work on this strong compromise and encourage him to sign the bill soon into law, ensuring that Minnesota students have access to the great educators they need.

Emergency licenses

Under HF2, 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 HF2:
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 (unless teaching in career and technical education), attend teacher mentorship and induction programs if available, and participate in teacher evaluations.

Educators must take cultural competency training.

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.

Schools must complete a criminal background check.

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.

 When they renew their license, educators must meet cultural competency requirements.

Note: No changes to collective bargaining access.

Special permissions

Under HF2, 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 HF2:
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.

 When they renew their license, educators must meet cultural competency requirements.

Transitional licenses

Under HF2, 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 HF2:
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 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.

Terms and Renewals

Three-year license with unlimited renewability.

 When they renew their license, educators must meet cultural competency requirements.

Professional licenses

Under HF2, 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 HF2:
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 have completed a state-approved teacher preparation program.

Terms and Renewals

Five-year license with unlimited renewability.

When they renew their license, educators must meet cultural competency requirements.