Alternative teacher license bill heads to committeeby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — House and Senate negotiators will soon begin working out the differences between two alternative teacher licensure bills.
The House passed its version of the bill Thursday by a vote of 72-59. The Senate passed a similar measure last week.
Under the bill, people interested in becoming teachers could take an alternative and shorter training path into the profession.
Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, said alternatively licensed teachers help increase student achievement. He said the move should not be considered controversial.
"Members, there is a nationwide, bipartisan consensus that alternative pathways to licensure work," he said. "Now, I know what controversy is, and later on this session I assure you I'll give you the opportunity to see controversial legislation. But members, this is not controversial.
"It works. It helps kids. It's the right thing to do."
Several Democrats argued that the standards would be too low for alternatively trained teachers.
Rep. Mindy Greiling, DFL-Roseville, said she sees a big loophole in the bill that would let alternatively trained teachers from other states into Minnesota schools.
"If we're going to address the achievement gap, as we all give a lot of lip service to, then we need very bright, energetic teachers, who know their subject matter, who do have a relationship with higher ed, and don't sneak through with some language that lets them come in from other states that aren't like Minnesota," she said.
Gov. Mark Dayton has said his office is working on a bipartisan compromise.