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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Sondra Erickson (R)

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RELEASE: Legislature sends teacher licensure reform bill to Governor's desk

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

SAINT PAUL- Today the Minnesota House of Representatives and Senate passed and sent to Governor Dayton's desk the conference committee report for HF140, a bill that creates a tiered teacher licensure system. The bill passed on a bipartisan 76-54 vote in the House and a 36-31 vote in the Senate.

The new licensure structure will be administered by a new Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board. This bill follows recommendations put forward by the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) in 2016, which indicated that Minnesota’s teacher licensure system is in need of significant changes. The bill enjoys widespread support from a variety of school groups and stakeholders including the Minnesota School Boards Association, the Association of Metropolitan School Districts, the Minnesota Association of School Administrators, and more.

Chair of the House Education Innovation Policy Committee, Rep. Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton) is chief author of the bill in the House, and Chair of the Senate E-12 Policy Committee, Sen. Eric Pratt (R-Prior Lake), is chief author in the Senate.

“By streamlining and adding transparency to the teacher licensure process, we hope to address the teacher shortage in our state,” Rep. Erickson said. “Clarifying teacher licensure in Minnesota will encourage more qualified and motivated people to become teachers, and increase the number of effective educators in our classrooms."

“This is the most significant reform to teacher licensure in forty years. It’s been a bipartisan goal to make sure kids have high quality and effective teachers in the classroom, and this bill accomplishes that goal,” Sen. Pratt added.

HF140 aims to address recommendations made by the OLA by accomplishing the following:

• Establishing a tiered licensure framework that ensures high standards, clear expectations, consistency, transparency, and identifies several accessible and affordable pathways for teacher licensure.
• Incorporate the unique and valuable skill-set of CTE (career and technical education) instructors within the tiered framework, including recognition of industry-related professional credentials and verifiable work experience.
• Adopt technical and clarifying recommendations from non-partisan offices to provide increased comprehension of teacher licensure provisions in state statutes and rule.

HF140 also creates the Professional Educator Licensing Board to manage this tiered licensure system and provide transparent governance to licensure policy implementation.