The Minnesota Legislature is poised to send the Governor a major piece of education policy this session related to teacher licensure. In response to the teacher shortages and in the wake of complaints about the Board of Teaching and an Office of Legislative Auditor (OLA) report calling for a single agency administering a tiered licensure system, Minnesota lawmakers are reviewing in conference committee two bills that would bring about significant changes. The bills are HF 140 and SF 4View side-by-side of the two bills.

The conference committee members for this bill include:

  • Representatives: Sondra Erickson, Peggy Bennett and Carlos Mariani
  • Senators: Eric Pratt, Karin Housley and Susan Kent.

While there is broad support for the bills, there is still opposition to the flexibility created in Tiers 1 and 2 of the proposed licensure system. Tiers 1 and 2 are designed to reduce barriers into the teaching profession both in response to teacher shortages and for persons who are taking up teaching as a second career.

The overall purpose of the Tier system is to provide pathways for teachers to reach Tier 4, which is the equivalent of todays’ renewable standard license, and to simplify the terminology. MREA has been very supportive of this effort and has made suggestions to the leaders.  View letter from Sen. Pratt

Some teachers have raised concerns about allowing school boards to license and use teachers in the proposed Tiers 1 and 2. These concerns will need to be sorted out in order to gain the Governor’s support for signing the bill. If not, this work could result in a vetoed bill and a return to the licensure status quo.