Preparing effective teachers for Minnesota kids
Minnesota students deserve great teachers—and great teachers can take many different pathways to the classroom. But, for too long, we’ve accepted the idea that there’s only one right way to become an educator: a traditional teacher preparation program. Although this path might work for some, it often presents barriers to many would-be great teachers, including people of color and individuals from low-income backgrounds. The traditional teacher prep approach also focuses heavily on inputs—coursework and pre-service training—and not on the outcomes that matter most: student achievement.
To prepare effective educators, fill teacher shortages, increase teacher diversity, and ultimately advance student learning, we need new approaches to teacher prep. Thankfully, in recent years, Minnesota policymakers have taken steps to support creative, proven models for training new educators (click here to read our report on recent policy progress). For example, the Legislature established an Alternative Teacher Preparation Grant to help promising models— including research-backed, in-service programs—expand or get off the ground in Minnesota.
But to give Minnesota students the great teachers they deserve, we need even more action. First, policymakers should re-invest in the Alternative Teacher Preparation Grant and explore other ways to create innovative and high-quality onramps into Minnesota classrooms.
Also, the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board should adopt teacher preparation standards which are student-centered, rigorous, outcomes-focused, equity-based, culturally affirming, clear, and objective for both traditional and alternative teacher preparation programs.
In the News
- MinnPost: Thinking about switching career paths to become a teacher? It’s daunting, but might be getting easier