Help Keep Great Teachers in Minnesota Classrooms
Minnesota students should never lose out on a great teacher because of arbitrary licensure barriers. But after years of hard work to build a fair, streamlined licensure system, the legislature is now considering proposals that would undo much of it and force experienced, effective, and diverse teachers out of the classroom.Take Action
Fixing Minnesota’s “Broken” System
Current and aspiring teachers in Minnesota deserve a straightforward and fair licensure system. For too long, they faced a system that a 2016 report from the Office of the Legislative Auditor called “broken” and in need of “significant changes.”
Over the last several years, through compromise and hard work, state leaders thoughtfully replaced that broken system with a new tiered licensure structure, which went into effect in 2018. Tiered licensure acknowledges the many factors that can make an educator effective, including their: teaching experience, content knowledge, training and professional development, and most importantly, impact on students.
We Can’t Go Back to “One-Size-Fits-All”
Under Minnesota's old teacher licensure system, completion of a traditional, Minnesota-based teacher preparation program was the only viable route to a permanent license. Thankfully, tiered licensure creates multiple pathways for teachers with master’s degrees, classroom experience, and positive teacher evaluations to enter and advance in the profession.
A current Minnesota House proposal would eliminate these pathways, undermining teachers who are already demonstrating effectiveness in the classroom and stripping school leaders of the flexibility to hire and retain the educators they need.
Devastating Teacher Diversity & Career and Technical Education
If current proposals advance, it could push as many as one in four teachers of color out of the classroom, and even more who work in career and technical education.
The fact is, today 23 percent of teachers of color in Minnesota hold a Tier 1 or 2 license or special permission. The same is true for 47 percent of career and technical education teachers. These are the teachers who would be pushed out of teaching unless they complete a Minnesota teacher preparation program—despite having other credentials, years of successful classroom leadership, and positive evaluations.
Empowering School Leaders
School and district leaders are best-positioned to identify local needs and recruit, hire, and retain the best educators to meet the needs of their students. Teacher licensure provides an important baseline, after which we should trust school leaders to make informed local staffing decisions. Tiered licensure provides clear checks and incentives to hire the most trained and qualified teachers possible, while ensuring districts don’t have to jump through hoops to fill vacancies and meet local student needs. We should not re-create artificial barriers that tie the hands of local schools and districts.
What’s Being Proposed?
Despite the grave concerns shared by educators and advocates across the state, there is a proposal to dramatically change tiered licensure advancing in the House (HF1329). The proposed changes would:
- remove numerous non-traditional pathways to a Tier 2 license;
- arbitrarily cap the number of times that teachers with Tiers 1 and 2 licenses can renew their licenses;
- eliminate current statutory language intended to encourage school districts to recruit teacher candidates from out-of-state (remember: Minnesota has one of the nation’s least diverse teaching corps);
- eliminate existing paths to permanent licensure for experienced, effective teachers in Tiers 1 and 2; and
- automatically bucket all Tier 1 and 2 teachers with ineffective teachers by restricting who they can teach, regardless of their actual impact in the classroom.
Before it’s too late, tell key policymakers that you oppose the licensure proposals in HF 1329. Even if you’ve already taken action on this issue, state leaders need to hear from you again—now.
If the licensure provisions in HF 1329 become law, they would:
- strip school leaders of flexibility to hire the best educators;
- force effective teachers out of the classroom, with a devastating impact on career and technical education and teacher diversity; and
- ultimately force Minnesota students to lose out on great teachers.
Your voice matters. Act now to make sure the licensure provisions in HF 1329 do not advance! Act Now
Help stop this harmful legislation by signing our petition.
Even better, if you can take two minutes to call your representative, we’ll have an even better chance of keeping great teachers in Minnesota classrooms. Find your representative's phone number.Find your rep's phone number
Want to learn more about the proposed changes to teacher licensure?
- Explore how the proposed changes would impact the existing tiered licensure structure.
- The full bill text can be found in HF 1329.
- Read the Star Tribune’s editorial opposing the changes.
- Read the Hometown Source's column opposing the changes.
- Watch the testimony of H. Adam Harris, a teacher who will be impacted by the proposed changes.
- Watch teachers, students, and community leaders speak out against the proposed licensure changes.
- Learn more about how and why our current licensure system opens doors into the classroom.