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ST. PAUL, Minn. – On Thursday, November 5, 2015, the House Education Finance and Education Innovation Policy Committees held a joint legislative hearing regarding the Minnesota Board of Teaching's lack of compliance with changes to teacher licensure laws passed earlier this year.
Under this change to statute, the Board of Teaching is required to adopt new rules to facilitate the licensure of out-of-state educators, or those trained in alternative preparation programs, by January 1, 2016. Because of their inaction and lack of urgency, having not even filed for a 60-day public comment period until November 2, the Board of Teaching has made clear it does not expect to make this mandated deadline.
"Since the 2011 legislative session, elected leaders have been making common sense changes to law with the intent of ensuring the Board of Teaching streamlines and clarifies its out-of-state teacher licensure rules for quality, qualified educators," said Rep. Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie), Chair of the House Education Finance Committee. "Instead, the Minnesota Board of Teaching continues to drag its feet and sidestep legislative intent, refusing to change its confusing and unequally-applied standards, putting our state's reputation as a national leader in education at risk. This is about bringing more world-class educators to our communities, addressing a serious teacher shortage in our state and doing what's best for our students and teachers."
"Today's hearing was important to learn what steps the board has taken to uphold the laws enacted to increase our teacher pool, as we work to ensure that rule-making is on schedule per our laws passed in recent years," said Representative Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton), Chair of the Education Innovation Policy Committee.
Furthermore, the Minnesota Board of Teaching, whose leadership is appointed by Governor Dayton, is in the midst of a lawsuit from teaching candidates who believe they were unnecessarily denied licenses that should have been granted under state law. In part, that is why additional requirements were placed on the Board of Teaching this session, to respond to and amend these failures to act within the spirit of the law. Several members of the lawsuit against the Board of Teaching testified before the committee Thursday to express their continued frustrations with the licensing process.
"The Board of Teaching has refused to do its due diligence, and this is inexcusable. They need to comply with the law and act in the best interest of Minnesota schools and educators," added Chair Loon.
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