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Minnesota Law Seeks Clarity on Licensing for Out-of-State Teachers


Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed a budget bill June 13 that, among other changes, directs the Board of Teaching to issue rules showing how teachers prepared elsewhere can be licensed in the Gopher State. 

As I reported this spring, the board is grappling with a lawsuit from out-of-state teachers who say that it doesn't have a clear process in place to review their qualifications and issue them Minnesota licenses. Instead, the complaint says, the state defers to teacher-preparation programs to make the determination about what additional training they need. Also, the lawsuit charges that the board impermissibly closed a "portfolio" licensing option. 

About 20 teachers have signed on to the lawsuit at this point. 

The budget bill says that the board of teaching must adopt rules by next January to accept out-of-state candidates from a "similar content field" and "similar licensure area." It would not require candidates to complete student-teaching again—as some of the plaintiffs in the suit contend was the case for them—instead allowing two years to prior teaching experience to qualify for licensure. Finally, the law also directs the board to notify teachers seeking to use the portfolio option within 90 days whether they're approved or not, clearly a signal that lawmakers expect that pathway to continue.

This isn't the first time that the legislature has directed the board of teaching to make licensing a little easier, however. So it remains to be seen what kind of rules the board will issue and how it'll enforce them.

Photo: Aberdeen Rodriguez, a teacher at the Green Central Park School in Minneapolis, is among the 20 teachers who contend that Minnesota makes it too complicated for out-of-state teachers to qualify for a license.—Bruce Kluckhohn for Education Week

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