Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders have reached agreement on an alternative teacher licensure bill.
Dayton sent a letter today to the chairs of the House and Senate Education Committees about the measure, which has already been passed by both chambers. The DFL governor said he plans to sign the new compromise.
"While Commissioner Cassellius and I do not agree with every provision in the legislation, after much give and take on both sides, we accept those differences in order to accomplish our shared objective: to pass reforms that will close the achievement gap and raise the educational standard for all Minnesota school children," Dayton wrote.
Dayton said the compromise creates a true alternative pathway program to address projected teacher shortages, assures well-prepared teaching candidates with content expertise and increases teacher diversity.
I have followed the progress of Senate File 40 concerning the development of alternative pathways to teaching in Minnesota's public schools. Listening and watching our legislators in action on this issue through the web has been an enlightening experience. While I suspect that few will pursue such pathways, it is possible that they may bring a creative, talented, committed teacher to students who will profit from her or his efforts.
Such an outcome is unlikely for those who do not have significant study and practice, usually provided by a college major, in the subject to be taught. Success is also unlikely without a mentored and supervised internship ("student teaching") guided by an experienced teacher in that field of study. The bill that Governor Dayton is prepared to sign fails to assure those two important criteria for classroom success.
As a parent of recent graduate from a Minnesota public school who is now pursuing collegiate study, I would not want my child shackled to the ignorance of a well-meaning but ill-prepared teacher deprived of the opportunity to advance a discipline in which he or she had neither formal study nor skilled mentoring to prepare for the demanding role of a public school teacher.
While I appreciate the effort invested by legislators and Mr. Dayton in effort to reach a compromise on a an alternative pathway to the classroom, the probability of success is small for those who lack both knowledge and the skill to share it with students. Alternative pathways to teaching, as this bill now maps them out, will not assure that success.
Let us have many paths, but let us also require that all those paths lead through one gate affirming knowledge and teaching ability through which only women and men the passion and competence to teach may enter our classrooms and our children’s lives.
The bill I read does include "student teaching". I commend legislators and the governor for working TOGETHER to better Minnesota. It is appalling to see what is happening in a border state. It is my opinion that it is good to have the legislative body majority one party willing to compromise and a governor who is willing to compromise; that is what makes good governing of this state. It is my hope that with the compromises and working together our legislators and governor can rectify the damage that has been done to our state over the past 8 years. It will take time, but I think this alternative teacher pathway is a fantastic beginning. When I read comments made by some teachers and see misspelled words, it is glaringly apparent that educational system needs reform. Understanding how to spell the word receive correctly is very basic, but I see it misspelled more more and more in advertizing and information the public reads.