Gov. Mark Dayton says he will sign a bill into law that opens up alternative pathways to teacher licensure.
In a letter to Senate and House education committee chairs, Rep. Pat Garofalo and Sen. Gen Olson, Dayton said he and Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius do not agree with every provision in the legislation, but have worked out a bill he is willing to sign in hopes to close the achievement gap and raise education standards in the state.
“The definition of compromise is a final solution, in which neither part gets everything it wants,” Dayton wrote in the letter. “I am most disappointed that the bill does not contain a more direct link to higher education, as the oversight for new programs offering alternative teacher preparation programs. The Board of Teaching will need to be very careful about the programs it approves, as there are not as many safeguards in place to monitor an alternative program’s effectiveness in the early years.”
Garofalo says the compromised proposal requires higher standards from alternatively licensed teachers, noting a 3.0 grade point average minimum and a requirement that teachers pass all three basic skills examination tests.
The bill does not include a requirement that teachers have a bachelor’s degree in the area they teach or supervision from an experienced educator – two changes pushed by Education Minnesota, the largest teacher’s union in the state. The union released a statement Monday expressing disappointment in the bill for failing to include the provisions.
“The key to better teaching does not lie in making it easier to become a teacher,” union president Tom Dooher said in a statement. “Our society does not address issues relating to doctors, attorneys, electricians or any other professional in such a manner.”
The bill will now go to conference committee and back to both floors for a vote before Dayton can sign it into law.