By Bruce Hagevik, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republican-controlled legislature have agreed on a plan allowing alternative teacher licensing in the state. But the state’s major teachers’ union is opposed.

“We’re disappointed in it because we don’t think there’s enough protection to keep the standards high,” said Education Minnesota president Tom Dooher.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Bruce Hagevik Reports

Under the compromise, non-traditional teachers with expertise in their field would be allowed in the classroom even if they haven’t had teacher training. It’s a trend being seen elsewhere around the nation.

“We just think it makes sense that if you’re going to teach math, you should have a degree in math,” said Dooher.

He said Education Minnesota sees value in alternative pathways into teaching but says this approach lowers the standard.

Capitol observers say the decision shows the DFL governor and Republican legislature can reach a compromise on certain issues.

Comments (39)
  1. js says:

    Specifically seeking young applicants is a violation of feredal law!

  2. tiredandretired says:

    You will soon have many highly-qualified teachers moving to Minnesota from Wisconsin. No need to settle for second best, by allowing alternative licensing.

    1. ESBITEIT says:

      Just how do you know these teachers are HIGHLY QUALIFIED??? Start with the counselors ~ don’t need them all. Maybe one per school. Why one counselor per grade. Are the students that emotionally distraught and need one on one attention so severely that we must have one counselor PER GRADE?? I doubt it. Give me a break!! ONE counselor per high school!!! And be off to Minnesota big babies!!

  3. ferdinand says:

    Okay, I know people will call me nasty names for this, but maybe if we reduced the number of minority students, the overall achievement rate could rise? I understand that this is kind of a taboo suggestion, but surely it wouldn’t be too hard to run some models to see if it would work?

    1. Tiredofthis says:

      Holy cats ferdinand! What exactly are you suggesting? Before I get upset I first want to know what you intend to do?

    2. Tom says:


      I dont why you think that if just reduce the number of minority students the overall achievement rate would rise? That is total non sense. This is not a one sided issue like you make it out too be. I am sure that rate you are referring too has also includes some white students as well. But what would you say in like 2 years from now you do all these changes and the rate does not change who do you blame then? I know it is easy too blame the teachers in this situation but it also requires some parent involvement as well. If the parent is not pushing their kids to do better aren’t they just as much too blame?

  4. Robert Radke says:

    JS-They aer not targeting only young applicants,but they will be knew to the profession.
    TIRED…….. -I live in WI and that’s a dam fine idea!!

    1. Robert Radke says:

      are…new Can spell,but typing is very iffy!

    2. tiredandretired says:

      Unfortunately for Wisconsin, we will lose many of our best teachers. I hope they can find employment in a state that appreciates them, rather than hating them.

      1. livesinwi2 says:

        Boo hoo!! Not feelin sorry for them at all. life is tough!! They can put on their big pants and deal with it!! ;o)

  5. The Greatest, Not Greediest, Generation says:

    So because Minnesota has no shortage of teachers, we need alternative licensing to attract younger people to a profession that has few job openings, is berated by politicians, may have no collective bargaining power or job security, is chronically underfunded AND places society’s problems at the school house door for them to fix.

    Yeah, that makes sense. That’ll have people standing in line for blocks to sign onto.

    1. Elizabeth says:

      “Greatest” – you hit the nail on the head. All we hear about is cuts for school districts so I’m sitting here trying to figure out what the “projected teacher shortages” are.
      Do you think they will start offering short cuts for other professions as well? Like nursing or accounting or marketing – I have a masters so I must be qualified right?

      1. blahblah says:

        Dear Editor,

        Extortion — the act of securing money or favors by intimidation.

        Sounds a lot like what has been happening to businesses throughout the state this past week. And it appears as though most of this extortion has been perpetrated by the teacher union (mob).

        Take for instance the Baldwin-Woodville school district. An e-mail was sent from the union to every business in the area to secure their agreement to oppose the actions being taken by Scott Walker. The e-mail indicated that the business owner should respond back with their opposition to Governor Walker’s plan. The teachers tell the business owners that they spend lots of money in the community and that “If you choose not to reply we will assume you are in favor of Walker’s bill.” Extortion, pure and simple.

        A copy of this letter can be found on

        Then we have the businesses surrounding our state capitol. One business after another has a very professional looking sign that says “Care about our educators like they care about your children.” Funny how all of these business owners made up the same sign!

        I can just imagine how the conversation went when the local Madison teacher mob boss entered the establishment with the sign. “Mr. or Mrs. Business Owner, you support our local teachers don’t you? Do you mind if I put this sign in your window so that all of the teachers can see how much you support them?” Another example of pure extortion.

        In Hudson it’s more subtle, but all the business owners are aware of the implied threat. Scott Ellingson reminded them last week that the Hudson School District is the largest employer in the county and that they spend lots of money in the community. Nothing like putting the businesses on notice to get in line.

        Not only should Ellingson be fired, but the make-up day for the teachers is another example of the strong-arm tactics that this mob should be restricted from. That day’s wage should be used to pay back the thousands of hours of lost productivity time that the private sector gave up to get their children situated on those days that the district closed.

  6. Trudy says:

    Finally a compromise. And yes, can’t wait for Wisconsin best teachers to move to Minnesota. 🙂

  7. MAJ says:

    (The Greatest, etc) You are 100% correct. I volunteer in an Elem. School and it breaks my heart to hear student teachers acknowledge the fact that they probably won’t find a job. I say hire only those that have teaching licenses.
    No preference to minority teachers……..

  8. I can't believe this! says:

    EXCUSE ME?!?!?!?

    This is a crime! I gratuated from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls a few years ago with honors in Elementary Education a minor in Early Childhood and I now have a masters in Marketing. I could not and still can not get a teaching job. I have applied all over the Twin Cities and even send my resume directly to the schools. I never hear anything back.

    What is wrong with this!?!?!
    So, I can’t get a teaching job with my experience but yet we are going to look at young people who don’t have to go to a teaching school to teach our children? Very upsetting.

    Looks like I wasted my college years on a career where I wanted to have my dream job of helping kids.

    1. tiredandretired says:

      Looks like people care more about money than people. They would hire a coma patient, if they could get them cheaply enough.

      1. ConfusedbyGovt says:

        Tired, I don’t understand your comment. Hiring a new college grad would bring them into the district at the low end of the payscale. Professionals who get the teacher license the ‘fast-track’ way will probably try to negotiate getting put into the district with credit for years of experience, and thus get a higher salary than a college grad. I have no idea why our state government is evening wasting an ounce of energy on this ridiculous action. If I wanted to be a teacher, I would have gone to college to be one – this is a huge blow to the entire profession, and an insult to the education industry in my opinion.

    2. OldVike says:

      GOP folks fear that if you have an education you may want to join a teacher’s union and desire a living wage. Can’t have that. They’d rather get people that can fog a mirror and accept $10/hr as a living wage. Hey – that’s what Wal-mart pays.

  9. amy says:

    the shortages are in the EL (English Learners), EBD, Science and Math.. there is a huge amount of teachers looking for jobs in social studies and language arts… they are trying to get more good people into those specialized fields – that is who they are talking about..

    1. I can't believe this! says:

      Doesn’t matter who they are talking about – if you want to become a teacher then you should be held to the same standards as other teachers. Work hard, get into a good college, take your required courses, do your time in the classroom and get a teaching job.

      So, we are going to lower the standards of our teachers just so we can fill a few spots. What you will end up with are “stupid” teachers who are not really qualified to do the job at hand and who want their summers off.

      Yep, seems like a great way to help our children grow and learn.

    2. no jobs says:

      My brother, who has an excellent resume, has been looking for a teaching job in math for 2 years… There are NO TEACHING JOB SHORTAGES!

  10. Mark from says:

    I love it dumbing down the teachers to dumb down our kids

  11. JohnF says:

    It’s a Repbulican world now. Be sure to vote in the next election.

  12. ConfusedbyGovt says:

    What teacher shortage? I currently know at least a half dozen teachers who used to work for the Robbinsdale School District, as they were let go by the district within the last two years due to declining enrollment. Two have moved out of state to find other jobs (thereby taking their taxable income and that of their spouse out of MN), and the rest take sub jobs as much as possible to pay their bills since none of the other districts within a 60 mile radius are hiring. Can someone PLEASE write a news story as to where the teacher shortage is in our state???

  13. John Sherman says:

    goes back to wendy andersons dumbing down the education system in minnesota to greatest l ower levels of achievement today the argument is to continue to divide of white vs black as to under achievements rather than address where the real problem is and the sub standards of expectations of parents,teachers and ost of all of the student to achieve and the sham that every student should go to college not so.

  14. M B says:

    I too am greatly confused about a “teacher shortage”. I’m constantly hearing of Teacher layoffs, yet there’s a teacher shortage? “Alternative methods”? What do these imply? If it means getting a scientist to take a few teaching courses, then be allowed to teach science, that wouldn’t be bad. If it’s about filling the ranks with underpaid and undereducated grunts, then it’s just plain insane.

    I would be greatly interested to know who suggested this bill and what rationale they are supposedly working off of.

    So far, the article has done nothing but throw a match on a barrel of gasoline without providing any real substance.

  15. Say what?????? says:

    I too don’t understand, we now have teachers that, if they do get a job, know when they walk through the door 1. that they will not get a raise for at least 2 years, maybe more. 2.. The odds are that they will get laid off for at least temporally, for the first 5 years they teach. Just how does that encourage anyone with half a brain to go into education no less make your children geniuses???????????

  16. Wolf Bait says:

    Just because a person knows a lot about a particular content area does not mean they have the skills to teach…That is a large portion of what teachers learn in college. I also want to take this opportunity to thank Gov. Dayton. The teachers supported you in this past election. I believe we have now been thrown to the wolves.

  17. Victim Du Jour says:

    Public Schools suck on purpose, so you have to get Student college loans for an Anti-Bush Poetry 101 Professor in a University Unfunded pension plan.

  18. common sense!! says:

    We need to raise the standards to be a teacher, not lower them. Common sense people!! This law is intended to cater to “Teach for America.” I disagree that we should be bending over backwards for this program when there are so many excellent teachers losing jobs and looking for jobs.

    Get a clue legislators!

  19. Victim Du Jour says:

    Schools have to focus on Math, Science, biology and Writing.

  20. Dick from Plymouth says:

    I have to weigh in here as this hits home.
    I have 2 nieces under the age of 30, both now are employed in teaching positions through the Teach for America program. One went to college with the intention of entering elementary education. She couldn’t handle the student teaching part of the program and quit. She realized she was not cut out for it and worked as a para-legal. Until the firm merged and she was unemployed. Now she is back in a classroom – hates it but it is a job as she says.
    The second niece never has liked kids and always stated if she gets married they are not part of the deal. She never has interacted at family functions with any of the younger people – she does not like “youth” as she says. She teaches music and dance now in a junior high.
    I guess this brings me to this question – how can this be allowed to happen? You seem to have many dedicated and qualified teachers on the sidelines with experience in many cases looking for work yet now are hiring people who really want no part of it besides getiing a paycheck?
    If you think that things were not up to your standards or expectattions in the past just wait for the next generation to work themselves up thru the education system. Scarey

  21. Wendell in Mpls says:

    Let the true dumbing down of MN begin

  22. ferdinand says:

    Just use skin bleach. No minorities = reduced achievement gap. That ought to hold us for a bit.

  23. FedupwithteachersinWI says:

    The recent shutdown of our schools was clearly an act to intimidate the parents of the district. In addition, we have seen the e-mails from at least one local teachers’ union threatening business owners who voice any support for the governor’s budget repair bill. This weekend my husband and I experienced the unions’ intimidation tactics personally.

    The St. Croix County Republican Party held its annual dinner this past Saturday at Kilkarney Golf Course. Protesters lined both sides of County Road M for about 1/2 mile before the Kilkarney entrance. Shortly after we turned off of Hwy. 35 onto M, sheriff’s deputies had us stopped as they were only letting one car at a time through the gauntlet of protesters. We drove at a snail’s pace through very noisy and angry protesters who booed and swore at us.

    They crowded tightly around our car and some even banged their signs against our car. Most disturbingly, a couple protesters with cameras took pictures of us through our car window and then took pictures of our license plate. This was done to many other people who arrived. The harassment by the local union protesters did not end once the guests arrived. Some of the people who attended were recognized by those protesting and later received nasty text messages and e-mails on their phones during the event.

    I have been active in politics much of my life and understand well that it is a tough business. However, this goes well beyond peaceful protesting and first Amendment expression. It is blatant intimidation of fellow citizens…as if only one side is entitled to ‘peacefully’ assemble or express their opinion. I have been disappointed but perhaps not surprised to see the tactics being utilized by the unions down in Madison. However, I am shocked and disgusted to see these bully tactics employed by our own neighbors right here in Hudson

  24. LAMEARTICLE says:

    Dear Editor,

    I am a student at Minnesota State Mankato and a permanent resident of Hudson. During my time at Mankato I decided that I wanted to be a social studies teacher; to enliven the youth of America and to encourage their involvement in civics.

    I have dedicated time, effort and money beyond my classroom education to prepare me for this. I participated in varsity athletics for five years; developing discipline and leadership as a captain. I spent a summer as an unpaid intern teaching a supplementary summer school program; learning about ethnic, racial, and socio-economic diversity. I racked up credit card debt taking a study tour in Italy; learning the history of democracy and experiencing European perspective. I have also served on our student senate for two years; most notably as one of the students who walked to the Minnesota state capitol to raise awareness for student issues.

    I share this to show that I am a caring and committed individual. I am unafraid of self-sacrifice if it means impacting my community for the better. I did all of those things so that I would be a more experienced, well informed, and productive member of society in teaching and otherwise.

    I hope that one day I can return to Wisconsin; to teach and share the wisdom I gain through community, state, national and global experiences. I dream of reentering the state of Robert La Follette and feeding the next generation of progressive thinkers.

    The political diversity found throughout Wisconsin is vast. It’s also well balanced among party politics. I believe the three things that contribute to this are the reasonable and logical thinking of the citizens, the debate that accompanies such thinking, and the transparency of our state government. In the case of the bill restricting bargaining rights for unions, the governor’s refusal to negotiate and be honest with his opposition conflicts with two of the three things I believe make Wisconsin politics great.

    I have stood between children and gunfire, confronted the poverty of the inner city, and taught students with no parents, no food, or no home. However, some evils that I will not burden myself with are his unwillingness to discuss the topic and the apparent jollies he receives from provoking civic unrest. Because of Governor Walker, at least one highly dedicated and qualified graduate will not be returning home.

    1. MINNWIresidENT says:

      Well, Wisconsin is better off with OUT someone like you teaching our kids. I’m sure there are plenty teachers who need a job and will work in Wisconsin.

  25. payurway says:


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