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MINNEAPOLIS, MN—Today MinnCAN: The Minnesota Campaign for Achievement Now applauded the bipartisan coalition of state legislators who introduced a measure to streamline the licensure process for experienced educators hoping to teach in Minnesota. Led by chief authors Sen. Clausen (DFL-57) and Rep. Fenton (R-53B), the proposed legislation (S.F. 559 and H.F. 589) advances long-overdue changes and responds to requests made in an open letter from educators and parents demanding a transparent and fair out-of-state licensure process.

Administrators and teachers across Minnesota are calling upon the Legislature to open the door to great out-of-state teachers as a means to fill hard-to-staff positions, increase teacher diversity and attract top teaching talent. The Minnesota Department of Education's 'Teacher Supply and Demand' report released last month provides hard data on the teacher shortages and diversity challenges confronting the state:

  • The percentage of Minnesota school districts reporting that it’s difficult or impossible to hire qualified teachers for hard-to-staff subjects has nearly doubled in the past two years;
  • Only 3.8 percent of Minnesota teachers are people of color, compared to 18 percent of teachers nationwide. Furthermore, the race/ethnicity of newly licensed and employed teachers in Minnesota has remained constant over the last five years.

"I know from personal experience that Minnesota’s licensure process for out-of-state teachers is exceedingly onerous and confusing," said Rep. Fenton. "After teaching for many years in both Wisconsin and Texas, I was shocked to discover the hoops through which I would have to jump in order to transfer my license to Minnesota. Unfortunately, these hoops still exist for out-of-state teachers, and deter excellent educators from pursuing careers in Minnesota. I’m thrilled to introduce H.F. 589 as a means to remove unnecessary red-tape, empower school leaders to find the best educators for their students and recruit top teaching talent to our state."

Sen. Clausen added, "As a former public school teacher and principal, I know how important it is to find quality, experienced educators, and how much it hurts students to have a teaching position go unfilled. I believe S.F. 559 will empower Minnesota school leaders to recruit experienced out-of-state teachers to fill hard-to-staff positions, increase educator diversity and, most importantly, help Minnesota children thrive."

"Minnesota currently makes it exceedingly difficult for qualified, experienced out-of-state teachers to transfer their licenses here, putting our students at an unnecessary disservice" said MinnCAN Executive Director Daniel Sellers. He continued, "The bipartisan, commonsense policy introduced last week would help ensure that teacher candidates with track records of success in other states can enter Minnesota classrooms where they’re needed right away."

"It is increasingly hard to recruit and attract quality teachers for many of our positions," confirmed Blooming Prairie Superintendent and Principal Barry Olson. "A more streamlined approach for quality, licensed teachers to move to Minnesota would be a huge benefit."

For more information or interviews, contact Ariana Kiener: 612-666-3066 or ariana.kiener@minncan.org.

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About MinnCAN: Launched in 2011, MinnCAN: The Minnesota Campaign for Achievement Now is an education advocacy nonprofit. MinnCAN is a movement of nearly 12,000 Minnesotans dedicated to creating the political will to enact smart public policies to ensure that every Minnesota child has access to a great public school. Learn more at www.minncan.org.


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