Quality Teachers

Out-of-State Teacher Licensure Reform

By March 15, 2015 No Comments

A long predicted shortage of K-12 teachers has arrived and MREA has been working to raise awareness about this quiet crisis and bring forward a solution for Minnesota.

HF645, sponsored by Rep. Deb Kiel (R-Crookston), proposes to streamline the process so teachers who are licensed out-of-state can teach in Minnesota classrooms. The bill would go a long way toward helping communities that struggle to fill teacher vacancies, Kiel said during a hearing Tuesday in the House Education Innovation Policy Committee.

The committee passed the bill on a divided voice vote and sent it to the House Education Finance Committee. Its companion, SF767, awaits action in the Senate Education Committee. It is sponsored by Sen. Vicki Jensen (DFL-Owatonna).

Inside the Bill

The bill proposes to make applicants holding a valid out-of-state teaching license who are offered employment in a Minnesota school eligible for a state teaching license if they meet the following requirements:

  • Complete a three-year probationary period in a single school district
  • Are not discharged or advised of a board’s refusal to renew the teacher’s contract during the probationary period
  • Become eligible for a continuing contract
  • Undergo a criminal history background check for non-state residents

The Minnesota Board of Teaching – the administrative body charged with rulemaking for teacher licensing – currently requires out-of-state teachers pass a basic skills licensing exam and, if necessary, complete college-level course work.

Kiel said many of the schools in the district she represents near the Minnesota-North Dakota border run into road blocks when attempting to hire a teacher from a neighboring state.

Rural school districts have a problem seeking qualified candidates amidst the teacher shortage. The requirements in Minnesota are a deterrent for teachers coming to Minnesota, or they become so frustrated that they quit the process, thus reducing the pool that superintendents and school boards have to choose from.

Education Minnesota opposes the bill.