Although Gov. Mark Dayton hopes teachers eventually will have to pass a basic skills examination in reading, writing and mathematics before they’re in charge of a classroom, he vetoed a bill that would have made it law.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Andrea Kieffer (R-Woodbury) and Sen. Ted Daley (R-Eagan), would have required those entering teacher preparation programs on or after Jan. 1, 2014, to pass a basic skills exam first. Those entering such a program before that date would have had to pass it as one of several requirements for earning an initial teaching license.
“Increasing the rigor of standards for Minnesota teacher candidates is a goal I share with the Legislature,” Dayton wrote in his veto message, but added that two “problematic provisions” in the bill prevented him from signing it.
One would have allowed teachers licensed out-of-state to be granted a one-year teaching license, during which period they would have to pass the skills exam. Dayton said that “contradicts efforts in the rest of the bill” to boost rigor, and places fewer requirements on those licensed out-of-state than on Minnesota candidates.
The governor also said the bill lacked a requirement that higher education teacher preparation programs provide remediation for teacher candidates who don’t pass the skills exam, which he said puts poor test-takers at a disadvantage even if they show promise as future teachers.
“If you were to include language in an education bill during special session that would eventually require individuals to pass the Basic Skills Test before they enter a teacher preparation program, I would support it,” he wrote.
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