Letter: Response to “Teaching licenses method changed”

U of M Student Chapter and Education Minnesota-Twin Cities

We, the Education Minnesota Student Chapter at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, CEHD believe that the intentions of the new four-tiered system for licensure are positive, but the execution is insufficient.

The tier licensure implemented is a disaster not only for our students, but also for the people of Minnesota. Now, with this new licensure plan, the state can grant someone, who has potentially never been to college nor has any experience working with children whatsoever, a “Tier 1” teaching license, with potential for unlimited renewals in some of the most challenging positions.

This law is an insult to more than 55,000 K-12 teachers who earned their licenses by acquiring all the different skills needed to meet the needs of their students. It is also a betrayal of the trust every parent puts in the state of Minnesota when they drop their kids off at school in the morning. We think some realistic alternatives to fighting the teacher shortage could stem from providing more loan forgiveness opportunities, scholarships, or other financial support packages for full licensure candidates.

Another large incentive that could be implemented is maintaining salaries to meet a standard of living requirement that is tied to inflation, as right now many potentially stellar teaching candidates go into the private sector merely because of the pay differences. It is not about just getting anyone to be a teacher; it is about providing access for those who will be good teachers.

Minnesota is known and revered for its strong education system. As a society, we should continue to reach for higher ground – not low hanging fruit.

Editor’s Note: This letter has been lightly edited for style. The statement was a letter jointly written by the student group.

U of M Student Chapter, Education Minnesota-Twin Cities

College of Education and Human Development