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Alternative Teacher Licensure bill comes to the House Education Reform Committee

posted on 9:10 PM, January 12, 2011
A letter from Kent Gordon to the MN Earth Science Teachers Association re. current legislative action on alternative teacher licensure.
MESTA members,

We need your action now to stop a bill that may damage the quality of Minnesota science education.

The Minnesota House of Representatives Education Reform Committee will hear an alternative teacher licensure bill, house file 63, Thursday.  This bill lowers the standard of entry into the teaching profession.  If this bill becomes law, an individual with a bachelors degree, a 200 hour (5 week) course, and successful completion of pre-teaching tests will have a teaching license.  It’s possible that  an individual could teach earth science without a single college earth science or science pedagogy course.  Training could be as little as a 5 week summer course.

This bill is a really bad idea; it goes against Minnesota’s record of well prepared science teachers and internationally recognized high student achievement in science.  The 95 TIMSS study placed our 8th grade students among the top in the world.  In the 2000 National Assessment of Educational Progress only Montana scored significantly higher than Minnesota; in 2005 only 5 states outperformed Minnesota.  Minnesota students also consistently lead the nation in most recent ACT scores.

Lowering licensure standards threatens our record of student achievement and quality science education, and adding less qualified candidates to the teaching pool is particularly insulting when many science teachers have seen their jobs cut or reduced.

If you oppose this bill please contact your local state representative, the governor, and members of the house education reform committee.  Explain to them how this bill could negatively impact the quality of science education for your students.


Kent Gordon
MESTA Past President

P. S.  Check these links for committee member e-mails and bill text.  The underlined passages are proposed changes.