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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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    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