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Open letter to the Minnesota Board of Teaching, the Minnesota Department of Education, Gov. Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature:

Data, research and common sense tell us that teachers are a key ingredient to school success. That’s why we are coming together to ensure that all well-trained, qualified and passionate teachers have a pathway to teach in Minnesota.

Administrators across our state should have the flexibility to recruit and hire educators that best meet the unique needs of their schools and students. Teachers who are licensed in other states and have the skills and commitment to lead students to academic achievement should be allowed to bring their talents to our classrooms.

Unfortunately, current laws and regulations enact barriers that artificially constrict our state’s pipeline of diverse and talented teachers.

Minnesota makes it incredibly challenging for experienced teachers to move to the state, even when local schools identify them as the best candidate. From urban districts to communities in Greater Minnesota, we hear stories of schools facing shortages of qualified teacher applicants, but due to antiquated policies qualified and eager out-of-state candidates are turned away.

In 2011, legislation was passed which required the Board of Teaching (BoT) to streamline the process for licensing out-of-state teachers and recognize a teacher’s past classroom performance. Nearly four years later, the BoT has yet to take sufficient action. Experienced educators from around the country continue to face a lengthy, expensive and at times incomprehensible path to their Minnesota teaching license. Meanwhile, the schools attempting to hire them are left in limbo.

The BoT and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) have denied, delayed or otherwise encumbered many applicants without providing concrete guidance or clear next steps, short of recommending that experienced educators enroll in an often redundant Minnesota teacher preparation program.

The stories we’ve heard are confounding:

•A math teacher with ten years of classroom teaching in Pennsylvania, New York and Texas was told she needed to spend thousands of dollars on additional teacher preparation coursework in order to be licensed in Minnesota.
•An elementary teacher with a master’s degree in education and four years of professional teaching experience in Missouri was told she needed more than 30 additional credits and to student teach in a Minnesota classroom in order to receive her license.
•Two teachers who began teaching more than a decade ago participated in the same California graduate teacher preparation program, received master's degrees in Education and the same California teaching licenses. Both applied for the same licenses in Minnesota, but the teacher with more experience was not granted one of the licenses the other received.

We should be actively recruiting experienced, talented and motivated educators, not turning them away.

Furthermore, creating a clear pathway for out-of-state teachers is a critical step to increase Minnesota’s teacher diversity. Currently, 96 percent of our state’s teachers are white. Allowing school administrators to recruit talent from other states will open the door to teachers of color from historically black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutes, and alternative certification programs with proven track records of success.

We ask the BoT, MDE and our elected officials to take leadership on this issue by:

•Establishing streamlined procedures and pathways for granting full Minnesota teaching licenses to teacher candidates initially licensed in other states;
•Creating transparent and straightforward guidelines and requirements for Minnesota licensure;
•Creating transparent and straightforward guidelines for approval of non-licensed community experts;
•Recognizing previous classroom experience and professional credentials when making licensure decisions;
•Issuing full Minnesota teaching licenses to candidates who satisfy the requirements of Minn. Stat. § 122A.23, Subd. 2; and,
•Providing clear explanations to applicants who are denied, including details on additional criteria needed and the right to appeal BoT decisions.



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    Educators: Elizabeth Abel, Maynard Jasmine Abraham, Minneapolis Holly Andersen, Brooklyn Center Public Schools, Minneapolis Julie Aune, Mankato Public Schools, St. Peter Cherise Ayers, St. Paul Public Schools, St. Paul Jon Bacal, Venture Academy, Minneapolis Alison Balan, KIPP Minnesota, Edina Stephanie Balma, Greenvale Park Elementary, Lonsdale Diana Bateman, Owatonna LaTunjha Bell, University of Arkansas, Little Rock Marne Berkvam, Lakeville North High School, Lakeville Marina Bibo, Minneapolis Public Schools, St. Paul Jeff Brengman, Rochester Regina Brenner, Minneapolis Tyrone Brookins, St. Paul Public Schools, St. Paul Stephanie Bruns, St. Louis Park Lois Butwin, (Retired), St. Louis Park Lee Carlson, St. James Public Schools, St. James Cliff Carmody, Southwest West Central Service Cooperative, Marshall Hattie Carvalho, Hiawatha Academies, Saint Paul Kiera Chase, Envision Schools, Oakland, CA Sunil Chetty, College of Saint Benedict & Saint John's University, Saint Cloud Jennifer Christensen, Minneapolis James Collins, St. Paul Toria Collins, St. Paul Joshua Connell, St. Paul Public Schools, Minneapolis Nicole Cooley, Hiawatha Academies, Minneapolis Elizabeth Corris, Minneapolis Public Schools, St. Paul Caitlin Craig, South Washington County Schools, Stillwater Cecelia Critchley, (Retired/1980 MN Teacher of the Year/former MN Education Assistant Commissioner), Blaine Jaime Cushman, Plymouth Marilyn David, (Retired), Bloomington Barbara DeMaster, St Paul Public Schools (Retired), Eagan Christina Dobratz, Hiawatha Academies, Minneapolis John Dotson, BOLD ISD 2534, Olivia Ashley Drake, Northeast College Prep, Minneapolis Linda Emerson, Portland, OR Michael Esty, Buffalo Zahra Farah, Fridley Karen Fleming, Northern Lights Community School, Cohasset Lynn Florman, Anoka Hennepin Schools, Andover Ian Galeski, Hopkins Rebecca Gallt, KIPP Minnesota, Minneapolis Laura Garcia, (Teacher License Candidate), Brooklyn Park Amir Gharbi, (Teacher License Candidate), Edina Zvi Geffen, (Substitute), St. Paul Corrine Gray, Minneapolis Public Schools, Minneapolis Pam Girtz, Little Falls Community Schools, Little Falls Janell Guzman, St. Paul Public Schools, Woodbury Yajaira Guzmán Carrero, Minneapolis Public Schools, Minneapolis Elizabeth Hankins, (Retired), Northfield Christina Hesley, Salt Lake City, Utah Carolyn Holmes, Arden Hills Meaghan Honeck, Blessed Trinity Catholic School, St. Paul Joan Howe-Pullis, (Substitute), Eden Prairie Michelle Hughes, Oakland, CA Amy Hungerholt, Leroy Sarah Hunter, Minneapolis Public Schools, Minneapolis Catherine Ibes, Great River School, St. Paul Dr. Bernadeia Johnson, Former Minneapolis Public School Superintendent, Brooklyn Park D. 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Educators 4 Excellence, Minneapolis Kim Erickson, Cambridge State Bank, Cambridge Al Fan, Charter School Partners, Minneapolis Beth Finch, KIPP Minnesota (Board Chair), Minneapolis Jeffrey Hassan, African American Leadership Forum, Brooklyn Park Amy Hertel, Education Transformation Initiative, Minneapolis Anil Hurkadli, Teach For America--Twin Cities, Minneapolis Ann Johnson, Minneapolis Public Schools, Minneapolis Curtis Johnson, Education Evolving, St. Paul Robbin Johnson, Parent Aware for School Readiness, Wayzata Holly Kragthorpe, Educators 4 Excellence, Minneapolis Megan McAllister, Northeast Metro ISD 916, Minneapolis Lynnell Mickelsen, Put Kids First Minneapolis, Minneapolis Annette Miller, Tracy Public Schools, Balaton Shannon Mitchell, Educators 4 Excellence, Minneapolis Ginny Morris, Hubbard Radio, St. Paul Dr. Mary Ann Nelson, Minnesota Department of Education (Former MN Education Asst Commissioner), Minneapolis Max Page, State of Minnesota--Judicial Branch, Brainerd Tiffany 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