Monday, May 22, 2017

Teacher licensing overhaul sent back for negotiations after veto. But for teachers in limbo, changes can’t come soon enough | MinnPost

Teacher licensing overhaul sent back for negotiations after veto. But for teachers in limbo, changes can’t come soon enough | MinnPost:

Teacher licensing overhaul sent back for negotiations after veto. But for teachers in limbo, changes can’t come soon enough 

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Thursday morning, Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a long-awaited bill to reform the state’s broken teacher licensing system. The bill made its way to his desk Tuesday, after passing the House and Senate that same day.
The bill encompassed the key recommendations offered by state auditors, who conducted an evaluation and reported their findings to legislators last spring in an effort to make the system more streamlined and transparent for applicants. That list of reforms includes a new governance structure — specifically, the creation of a Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board that would take over duties currently shared between the state Department of Education and the state Board of Teaching — and the establishment of a four-tiered system. Qualifications for each level of licensure are specified, along with any limitation on how many renewals are allowed.
A bipartisan legislative working group that met over the summer decided on using this framework. Given the state’s growing teacher shortage in hard-to-fill areas like special education, math, and the trades — combined with a need to diversity the teacher workforce — the overhaul has largely been characterized by a sense of urgency, that this is one effort that simply can’t be left unfinished this session.
As partisan tensions amped up during session, however, hammering out the details of the bill became contentious. Some Democrats, along with the state teachers union, Education Minnesota, have raised concerns that the lower licensure tiers make it too easy for people without professional training to get a teaching license. And state Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius pushed back on a lack of guaranteed funding needed to implement the new licensing system.

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