Dayton signs Minn. teacher license bill into lawby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Gov. Mark Dayton has signed an alternative teacher licensure bill, which he says could set a bipartisan example for the rest of the session.
The Democratic governor signed the bill at a Capitol ceremony with Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and lawmakers including the Republican heads of education committees and Democratic supporters of the proposal.
The new law allows nontraditional teachers and mid-career professionals an easier path into classrooms, especially in low performing schools.
Standing next to supporters of the measure, Dayton said that the bill showed how compromise can work. He suggested the same approach can also work on the budget.
"We achieved this together in a spirit of what was best for the people of Minnesota," Dayton said. "And if we can follow this example, for the rest of the legislative session, for the rest of the next two years, we'll achieve a great deal all of us working together for the people of Minnesota."
Dayton is proposing tax increases to help erase a $5 billion budget deficit. Republican leaders say they oppose any tax increase, and will offer a budget based on available revenue.
The law was opposed by Education Minnesota, whose president predicted the change will weaken standards for becoming a teacher.
Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, deflected a suggestion that he had beaten the union.
"It's a victory for the kids," he said. "This not a Republican or a Democrat win or a loss for anyone else."
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)