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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.

Respectfully,

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To learn more about the campaign and take further action, visit OpenTheDoorMN.org
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Signatories
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. Johnson, (Substitute), Eden Prairie
Henry Johnson, (Retired), Birchwood, WI
Katherin Kamphoff, Columbia Heights Public Schools, Minneapolis
Peg Kavaney, (Retired), Minneapolis
Ana Knapp, Minneapolis Public Schools, Minneapolis
Elliot Kohl, Minneapolis
Mary Kokernot, Minneapolis Public Schools (Retired), Minneapolis
Eli Kramer, Hiawatha Academies, Minneapolis
Maya Kruger, College Prep Elementary, Bloomington
Liz Kunkell, Minneapolis
Michael Kurhajetz, Minneapolis Public Schools, Minneapolis
Hilary Laing, Long Lake
Katherine Laing, Arlington, TX
Leah Delia Larson, Perpich Arts High School/Crosswinds Arts and Science School, Minneapolis
Christian Ledesma, Minneapolis Public Schools - Green Central, Minneapolis
Christine Levin, Golden Valley
Melissa Lideen, Shafer
Amanda Little, Mounds View Schools, Shoreview
Amanda Lodermeier, Minneapolis
Julia Longenecker, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Jane Lonnquist, Edina
Jessica Loper, Venture Academy, Minneapolis
Elizabeth Lueth, Twin Cities Academy, Lino Lakes
Amara Lynch, Hiawatha Leadership Academy, Minneapolis
Mary Macaulay, Bloomington
Benjamin MacKenzie, FAIR School, St. Paul
Jodie Madsen, Bloomington
Shelly Maes, Southwest West Central Service Cooperative, Marshall
Richard Mammel, (Retired), Albert Lea
Angela Martin, Ramsey Middle School, Minneapolis
Bridgit Maruska, ISD 709 (Substitute), Duluth
Diane McCarron, Southwest West Central Service Cooperative, Paynesville
Toni Mcdevitt, Winona Area Public Schools, Winona
Karyn Meier, Andover
Allison Millea, Burnsville High School, Rosemount
Leah Mosher, St Anthony-New Brighton School District, Minneapolis
Matthew Myrold, Fargo, ND
Shannon N'diaye, Cottage Grove
Linnea Ness, Ramsey
Michael O'Connor, Minneapolis
Barry Olson, Blooming Prairie Schools, Blooming Prairie
Brendan O'Shea, ISD 622, St. Paul
Lorraine O'Shea, Grand Forks Public Schools, East Grand Forks
Mary Palmer, Southwest West Central Service Cooperative, Willmar
Milton Papageorge, St. Paul
Katie Pekel, University of Minnesota--Twin Cities, St. Paul
Tyler Pence, Twin Cities Academy, St. Louis Park
Michael Perry, Champlin
Jen Pfeffer-Dittes, Watertown-Mayer School District, Buffalo
John Pimental, ISD 197, St. Paul
Lisa Purcell, Salt Lake City, UT
Cara Quinn, Community of Peace Academy, St. Paul
Tom Rademacher, West Metro Education Program (2014 MN Teacher of the Year), Minneapolis
Byron Rice, Breck School, Richfield
Kirstin Rogers, (Retired), Burnsville
Todd Russ, St. Croix Lutheran School (Dean of Academics), Oakdale
Lamia Samad, Columbia Heights
Melissa Schaller, Intermediate School District 917, St. Paul
Michele Sera, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago, Ill
Stephen Severance, (Retired), St. Paul
Sumair Sheikh, University of Minnesota, Duluth
Maddie Smith, Teacher Candidate, La Crosse, WI
Kathryn Spotts, Hiawatha Academies, Minneapolis
Tammy Stahl, Southwest West Central Service Cooperative, Pipestone
Lee-Ann Stephens, (2006 MN Teacher of the Year), St. Louis Park
Sally Strand, (Retired), Plymouth
Mallory Swierk, Plymouth
Sandra Thimgan, (Retired), Battle Lake
Susan Thomson, Wayzata
Nicole Toussaint, St. Paul Public Schools, Minneapolis
Sara Twait, Harmony
Shannon Twait, Harmony
Jason Ulbrich, Eagle Ridge Academy, Becker
Lucas Wax, St. Paul
Mary Eileen Welsh, (Retired), St. Paul
Luke Winspur, Shakopee Public Schools, Shakopee
Meredith Young, (Substitute), St. Peter

Community Partners:
Minnesota Rural Education Association, St. Cloud
Gary Amoroso, Minnesota Association of School Administrators, St. Paul
Brandon Baker, Milaca Public Schools (Board of Education-Director), Milaca
Nicholas Banovetz, Education Transformation Initiative, St. Paul
Jim Bartholomew, Minnesota Business Partnership, Minneapolis
Laura Brod, MinnCAN (Board member), New Prague
Victor Cedeno, Generation Next, Minneapolis
Jo Ann Clark, Progressive Baptist Church, St. Paul
Joshua Crosson, MinnCAN, Minneapolis
Denise Dittrich, Minnesota School Boards Association, Champlin
Madaline Edison, 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 Paulson, Rainbow Health Initiative, Minneapolis
Mitch Pearlstein, Center of the American Experiment, Golden Valley
Sara Pimental, Cru Inner City, St. Paul
Ethan Roberts, Jewish Community Relations Council, Plymouth
Alice Seagren, (Former Commissioner of Education and Former Legislator), Bloomington
Daniel Sellers, MinnCAN, Minneapolis
Joe Steck, Mankato Times, Eagle Lake
Brian Sweeney, Charter School Partners, Minneapolis
Mary Sue, Weir, Watershed High School (Board Member), Minneapolis
Barbara Tribble, University of St Thomas, Zimmerman

Foundations:
Rob Albright, Albright Foundation, Edina
Lesley Crosby, The Carolyn Foundation, Minneapolis
Rebecca Erdahl, Carolyn Foundation, Minneapolis
Jim Frey, Frey Foundation, Edina
Jo Ann Gruesner, Frey Foundation, Plymouth
Ann Mulholland, The Saint Paul Foundation, St. Paul
Colleen OKeefe, Sauer Children's Renew Foundation, North St. Paul
Tim Penny, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, Owatonna
Margaret Soran, Soran Foundation, Edina
Teri Steckelberg, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, Owatonna
Sandra Vargas, The Minneapolis Foundation, Minneapolis
Carol Wolfe, Frey Foundation, Edina

Individuals:
Amber Adrian, Champlin
Iris Altamirano, Minneapolis
Rick Anderson, Ely
Kristin Armbruster, Minneapolis
Matthew Arnold, Minneapolis
Traci Auger, Minneapolis
Karissa Baker, St. Paul
Patricia Barnum, West St. Paul
Carla Bates, Minneapolis
Ben Bauer, St. Paul
Robert Bernas, Minneapolis
Jacqueline Beutell, Eden Prairie
David Bock, Brainerd
Susan Bohannon, Mendota Heights
Abbie Bollman, Minneapolis
David Bowman, St. Louis Park
Jessica Breed, Eagan
Keith Brooks, St. Paul
Lee Brucker, Minneapolis
Brent Brunetta, Grand Rapids
Lou Burdick, Minneapolis
Stephanie Burke-Liggett, St. Louis Park
Bob Butterbrodt, St. Paul
Kathleen Butts, Minneapolis
Mary Byrne, Marshall
Rosann Cahill, St. Paul
Kimberly Caprini, Minneapolis
Alex Cassanova, New York, NY
Elizabeth Chacich, Cloquet
Julie Christensen, Savage
Alex Cirillo, Woodbury
Betsy Clarke, Minneapolis
Mark Conway, Minneapolis
Linda Crumpton, Cloquet
Davia Curran, White Bear Lake
Barbara Dalton, Kimball
Megan David, St. Paul
Ben Davis, Sartell
Don Davison, Grand Marais
Theresa del Rosario, St. Paul
Pamela DeWolf, Red Wing
Terry Donovan, Plymouth
Anna Dornbusch, St. Paul
Eric Eagon, Minneapolis
Fritz Ehlers, Minneapolis
Carol Erdahl, Roseville
Jessica Espinosa, Maplewood
James Field, Minnetonka
Lynn Foster, St. Louis Park
Paula Fox, Golden Valley
Dawn Fuglestad, Minneapolis
LaRae Fultz, Minneapolis
Meg Gehlen Nodzon, St. Paul
Alison Giovanelli, Minneapolis
Amber Godden, Duluth
Rachel Grantz, Eagan
Bill Graves, Minneapolis
Hadiya Green, Rochester
Claire Gussel, St. Paul
Owen Gustafson, Rockford
Dana Hanson, Minneapolis
Christine Harshman, Forest Lake
David Hartwell, Minneapolis
Lucy Hartwell, Wayzata
Karen Hatlestad, Maplewood
Jane Hendrickson, Edina
Elizabeth Heyer, Plymouth
Jim Hield, Edina
Rita Hillmann Olson, New Prague
Natalie Hodapp, Mankato
Don Hon, Minneapolis
Joseph Honeck, St. Paul
John Hupp, Minneapolis
Erin Hupp, Minneapolis
Mitra Jalali Nelson, Minneapolis
Laura James, Burnsville
Kelly Jense, St. Peter High School (School Social Worker), Mankato
Jody Johnson, Duluth
Kamren Johnson, Santa Cruz, CA
Kelly Kausel, Apple Valley
Peg Kavaney, Minneapolis
Cheryl Kenney, St. Paul
Martin Kiener, Eden Prairie
Sam Kiener, Minneapolis
Karen Klinzing, Stillwater
Max Korn, Minneapolis
Denise Koster, Rochester
Candace Kragthorpe, Shakopee
David Kragthorpe, Shakopee
Liz Kragthorpe, Savage
Robin Krause, Minneapolis
Benjamin Krohling, Minneapolis
Timothy Kubicek, Shakopee
Harmony Kuller, Minneapolis
Madelyn Labella, Minneapolis
Yvonne Lerew, St. Paul
Robin Lindberg, Plymouth
Pa Na Lor, Vadnais Heights
Sam MacDonald, Minneapolis
Kim Mackenthun, Waconia
Benjamin MacKenzie, St. Paul
Gilda Mansour, San Francisco, CA
Leah Matheson, Minneapolis
Alexandra Matyja, Prior Lake
Peter McDonald, Minnetonka
Mike McFadden, Sunfish Lake
Carey McKeon-Pearson, Edina
Alfred McNicoll, Eagan
Kyle Meerkins, Minneapolis
Shari Mensink, Owatonna
Cindy Moeller, West St. Paul
Joe Mosher, Minneapolis
Bernard Mullen, Minneapolis
Marijo Nabben, Thief River Falls
Mike Nelson, Rochester
Libby Nickel Baker, Milaca
Keri O'Keefe, Minneapolis
Josh Ondich, Prior Lake
Rachel Ose, St. Paul
Laura Pastor, Minneapolis
Ryan Pedersen, Victoria
Hilde Perala, Hermantown
Jody Peterman, San Gregorio, CA
Bethany Peterson, Roseville
Elizabeth Petran, Cannon Falls
Marika Pfefferkorn, Plymouth
Linda Piskor, Eagan
Tad Piper, Hamel
Caroline Pugh, St. Paul
Frank Quale, Chaska
Kay Randall, Moorhead
Kyrra Rankine, Minneapolis
Lisa Ray, Minneapolis
Patrice Relerford, Minneapolis
Megan Rice, Eagan
Margaret Richardson, Minneapolis
Cristina Rivard, Minneapolis
Anne Rizor, Delano
William Rogers, Burnsville
Mark Rossi, Tonka Bay
Abby Roza, Minneapolis
Amanda Salden, Chaska
Elaine Salinas, Minneapolis
Alyce Sande, Robbinsdale
Kate Sattler, Minneapolis
Karen Sellers, Minneapolis
Nathan Sellers, Minneapolis
Richard Sellers, Minneapolis
Jacob Sherman, Wayzata
John Siskoff, Prior Lake
Gene Skala, Red Lake Falls
Betty Smisek, West St. Paul
Chris Smith, Orono
Michelle Smith, Jordan
Scott Smith, Jordan
Philip Soran, Edina
Linda Stanton, Woodbury
Susan Stephenson, Buffalo, NY
Dawn Sterbuck, Coon Rapids
Shelly Tanning, Minneapolis
Jonathan Taves, Minneapolis
Denise Thomas, West St. Paul
Cathy Thompson, Minneapolis
Michele Thompson, Floodwood
Anthony Thompson, Minneapolis
Alivia Tison, Baton Rouge, LA
Wendy Truong, Saint Cloud
Jacquie Trudeau, Minneapolis
Nick Upton, Minneapolis
Earl & Margie VanBerkom, Cottage Grove
Sue Van Hal, Pillager
Molly Varley, St. Paul
John Viacrucis, Moorhead
Chelsea Vilina, Isanti
Jeff Wallace, Duluth
Leon Wallace, Minneapolis
Barbara Walter, Bloomington
Traci Webb, Minneapolis
Judy Weinberger, Eagan
Rick Weinberger, Eagan
Deborah Weiss, St. Paul
Allison Welch, Minneapolis
Amanda Welliver, St. Paul
Jacob Whalen, San Juan Capistrano, CA
Ben Whitney, Lakeland
Lee Wick, Maple Grove
Shawn Williams, Austin
Lauren Wolkstein, Brooklyn, NY
Amy Wolter, St. Cloud
Cindy Wright-Dellanave, Rochester
Hannah Wydeven, Minneapolis
Barbara Yates, Roseville
Deb Young, Hastings
Christine Zavoral, East Grand Forks

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