ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton has signed a law that creates a path into the teaching profession for nontraditional teachers and midcareer professionals.

The Democratic governor signed the bill at a Capitol ceremony with Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and lawmakers including the Republican heads of education committees and Democratic supporters of the proposal.

The law is aimed at helping to close Minnesota’s wide racial achievement gap and fill projected teacher shortages. It is expected to bring in new, mostly young teachers who didn’t attend traditional teaching colleges and ease the way for programs such as Teach for America, a national initiative that places recent college graduates in struggling schools.

The law was opposed by the Education Minnesota teachers union, whose president predicted the change will weaken standards for becoming a teacher.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (36)
  1. Mr T says:

    I don’t much like the teacher’s unions but i think thye are right on this one.

  2. Exec Dir says:

    I have known many teachers that have education specific degrees – even Master’s degrees – that have no aptitude when it comes to actually working with students in the classroom. There are also many a “natural” teacher that with some adjacent training are fantastic as authentic and effective classroom teachers. Higher education and a license do not always equate proficiency and talent. It may be refreshingly surprising to see some wonderful attitudes of these new teachers that may enter the education arena as a result of this bill.

  3. Chuck says:

    If a fully licensed teacher is not effective in the classroom then one of two people or groups of people are at fault. Either the supervising teacher and the teacher educator did not do thier job and weed the person out, or the administrator has not done due diigence and not renewed this “teacher”. I tihink, more than worring about poor teachers, we need to look at poor administrators!!!!

  4. common sense ! says:

    Wow, easing the standards to become a teacher will RAISE the achievement gap? Common sense people!

    Also, what teacher job shortages are there? I can’t believe are anticipating this!! Tons of people are looking for precious few teaching jobs.

    Good grief.

  5. Dang Straight says:

    No alternatively licensed teacher will be hired in my kid’s school. We want quality, not rejects from the private sector.

  6. Huh? says:

    So, just to recap.
    1.We want to raise the quality of education for our kids by lowering standards for teachers?
    2. Lack of teachers? Where is this? In the north suburbs, there are MANY qualified teachers who actually went through the education system to become teachers that can’t get jobs because there are 300 applicants for every open position.

    1. Nose plugs required again in MN says:

      Dead on – I’ve been looking for a job teaching math for 2 years. I spent $80K or more to get where I am….unemployed. And they know do this?
      I will not call those seeking employment “outside” their actual training and education bad people but I sure will question why they can do this without specialized education? Don’t lie and say we are not “out here” to fill these positions as we are.
      I am missing the true reason they are doing this I guess. Put another way – whom bought off whom?
      I too want to fast track that CPA licensure waiver – where do I sign up? 😉

      1. John H says:

        Gues what Nose Plug? You don’t have to be a CPA to prepare tax returns, or perform accounting work! You just have to be competent. I think you just proved the author of this bill’s point. A piece of paper saying you are a teacher means nothing, except you took some classes.
        Think of this scenario – A struggling school has to cut all business courses because it can’t afford to employ the teachers, due to a dropping population and class size. A business professional comes in and offers to teach a personal finance class (1 class a day). After doing their background work, the school hires this guy for a fraction of what it would cost to hire a teacher (only part-time, no benefits, no pension, etc.). If the guy is worth it, a win for the school district and a win for the students! If he isn’t, the school fires him and doesn’t have to deal with union rules.

  7. People all this is is a was to bust up the teachers union and lower pay so schools can get by in these trying times. Read between the lines on this and the answer will jump right out at you. They are not changing up the superintendant ways of things. They are going after the lower end teachers because it is a very easy win. After all do most teachers make that much these days anyways? Nope! So by opeing the flood gates a little more it forces all teachers to step their game up and do their best. There will be new sharks in the water so tread lightly! Mr dayton may seem lose upstairs but trust me this is the first of many sly under the rug mega moves. Stay tuned for more to come. People will look back 10 20 years from now and say…!

    1. Huh? says:

      The problem with your arguement is TENURE. Teachers that have been 20 years in a district are not in danger(as long as the union stays) because it is time in job that matters, not performance. Just because there may be more candidates, it only hurts the younger more motivated teachers, leaving the 20 year vets right where they are…overpaid and undermotivated!

  8. Easy on the take down says:

    Dare I ask this – what happened to the Gov on this? He was a teacher once …. oh, wait a minute. He didn’t cut it maybe?????

    1. Hannah says:

      He wasn’t much of a teacher and didn’t stay very long in the classroom teaching! Kind of like what he did as a United States senator….bailed out!!!

  9. Tom says:

    I really dont understand where they Republicans are thinking this is going too close the achievement gap. You know this problem shouldn’t all be put on teachers, there is a group of people called the parents. If the parents aren’t going too do their part why is that the teachers fault? Maybe the Republicans are to chicken too call the parents out. I also wonder why they don’t suggest alt teaching for private schools so that kids there can learn something instead of some of the non sense they are being taught there?

  10. Mary L Johnson says:

    There are just as many parents who home school who have no training, no real aptitude for teaching nor the discipline to structure a day of education in their home the way a school building does. There are many good parents who are also not equipped to teach their children a necessary education curriculum

    1. Tom says:

      Mary L. Johnson

      You make a good point. I never even thougt of that until you mentioned it. A parent who teaches at home has no degree in teaching but are allowed to teach their kids at home. They would never make it in a classroom. There is big difference between teaching 2 kids at home and trying to teach 30 kids in a school. So would the Republicans allow a parent who does that teach in the classroom? I doubt it! But yet on the other hand a parent who teaches their kid at home just want to control what their kids learn.

      1. Chris says:

        I can’t think a a greater freedon for a parent too have then to teach there own child. If only more parents cares so much and wher ble to homeschool. Our costs would drop and bills like this would be meaningless and not needed.

        1. Huh? says:

          Chris- please tell me you misspelled words, used the incorrect usage of “There” (Their), and rambled without making sense to prove a point about the education system.

        2. Heidi says:

          Chris! You are embarrassing yourself with your grammar, incorrect word usage, and typos. God help your children if you are teaching them at home.

  11. ISD #256 says:

    Some of the Teachers we have are not worth it, some young and bright tallent might be good. Our school district has had many issues with our educators not being qualified to teach. RedWing school district needs to be cleaned out!

  12. Keith says:

    Dayton is on the right path… I have the credentials to be a professor at any major university, but I am “not qualified” to be a teacher for junior or senior high school students? The only thing I see being weakened in this plan is the power the union has over the process.

    1. Heidi says:

      I have no doubt, Keith, that you are well-trained and experienced in your chosen field but where, Keith, in your education, were you trained to deal with teaching methods for middle school- and high school-age students; pre-teen and teenage brain development; learning disabilities; intervention techniques; chemical dependency; classroom management; and instructional technology? Are these just piddly little side issues that really aren’t important? We don’t need teachers who can spew out course content and knowledge. Yes, we definitely want your knowledge, but we also need teachers who understand the minds they are teaching to and who know how to manage a classroom. This isn’t college, Keith. Don’t ever think that, because you could be hired by a college that you are automatically qualified to teach children.

      1. Wade says:

        Heidi, You suggest that because someone does not have a teaching degree and therefore have nothing to offer in a grade school classroom. Personally I do not have a teaching degree (due to the financial expense!), but I have extensive knowledge in history from my degree. As for understanding the minds of children, I am raising 2 teens and 1 pre-teen. One has Aspergers, one with ADD, and one with ADHD. Am I qualified from real life experience? I think so.

  13. Ali says:

    Anything that the Union does not like has to be good for students. The Unions only care about money and only hide behind “it’s for the children” but we see through all lthat now. We are not being fooled by the Union geed any more!

  14. PatPaulsonsmellsrats says:

    Anything that the GOp pushes has to be designed and geared towards wiping out the middle class.
    We are not being fooled by the Ali Bachmanns anymore who have failed at everything else they have done. Poopy on Ali the ‘lim

  15. Vince says:

    Quality Teachers – Wherever They Come From!

    If this creates an opportunity to improve our teaching effectiveness in k-12, I support it. The current system today isn’t working! I really feel bad for the wonderful teachers my child has had in high school. On the other hand, there are some real disasters in the system that are allowed to continue to short change the next graduating class. This sickens me. We need a system that rewards the truly gifted teachers, dismisses the incompetent, and provides training with accountability for those in the middle.

    1. Tim P says:

      @Vince – my question to you and all on this accountability and grading thing is how do you base it?
      Cannot be by peers.
      Cannot be by parents.
      Cannot be by class as mine might be gifted and yours all fresh out of the reform school.
      I highly doubt there are many teachers today who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to receive additional comp for a well done job. The fear I suspect is the manner in which they are gauged.
      It’s not an apples to apples thing – totally impossible.
      And yes – was there and did this. My hardest year and the one I was most proud of was, using any “standard testing” they have talkied about, was my worst as far as the overall performance of the class using testing. Today, with 2 exceptions, they all have 4 year degrees or have gone further. At that period in time I failed 13 and saw little improvement by year end. Yet many have told me I changed their lives and they credit me for much of what they have done. It makes me proud – yet I would have likely failed using a standard per se. And been terminated.
      So define “quality” in you mind please. I am curious how you perceive this. Thanks

    2. Hannah says:

      I agree with Vince!!! Weed out the bad teachers and work on the ones that are in the middle and reward the gifted, caring and talented teachers!! Teachers are there to teach kids NOT to bail out of the classroom and “picket” when they should be in the classroom TEACHING!!!

  16. Pam says:

    I am one who would be a good teacher, have a masters degree and work well with kids who traditional teachers have not succeeded with. Kids who have challenges are often “lost in the shuffle”. This is a step in the right direction. Teachers and teachers’ unions have had the opportunity for years to decrease the achievement gap but they have not been successful. The proof will be in the results.

    1. lukkay says:

      Pam I’m confused about your statement. Minnesota has the highest ACT scores in the country. I know that there is room for improvement, but the facts are the facts.

    2. Tim P says:

      Pam – I taught for 11 years and will state first hand the issues in education have little bearing on the perception of “poor teachers”, who actually try like crazy, but rather the issues are primarily on the support side, the mandate side and maybe the worst side – PARENTS and their demands for “my child”. I want this-that-the other thing and if you don’t I’ll sure.
      I left that miserable profession as soon as I could and never once looked. It’s almost set up to fail as it is – there is zero support. Administartion tells parents what they demand to have/hear, the school boards the same, the principals caught in the middle, every child has their own form of special requirements or needs, the schools are daycare centers, you have no way to control, discipline or otherwise handle a child who is out of control. I have 2 scars – one from a scissors that was being used as a knife when I attempted to seperate 2 boys fighting, the other from a ceramic mug that was hurled at me and severed the upper part of my ear. The poor girl was “upset” at having to participate in a project. In each case the student was suspended for a day. A single day. The parents did not even attend a mandatory meeting in one case. Oh yes – the wonderful education system controlled by courts,mandates,parents and whims.
      Be mighty careful of what you ask for. 🙂
      And check back in – if you eneter the profession – in say 10 years and give us an update. lol

  17. Trista says:

    Teachers are only one part of the equation. Where is the accountability for the students and the parents? There are plenty of kids out there with great teachers who just do not want to do the work, I know because I have a daugher who meets this description and if I was not involved and proactive she would be struggling right now. Parents these days expect teachers to “raise” their children. If you want a nanny, get one.So many parents who are “shocked” to see that F on the report card but they never bothered to show up for conferences or sit down and help with homework. Putting “atlernative” teachers into the system isnt going to help anything. Lets start asking parents to step it up and do their job and for students to take responsibility for some of their own learning. You can teach some of these kids until you are blue in the face, but if their parents arent involved and they dont study and do the work it will do you no good.

    I have a degree, but I make no presumtions that I am even near qualified to be a teacher…..but then again I’m CPR certified, maybe I can sign up to be an ER Dr?

  18. Chis says:

    I’m an engineer, and this would be a path for me to shift my career without going back to school for 4 years. And if you think a person with a teaching degree can keep up with me on math and science you’re nuts. if I can manage multi-year projects that involve multiple develpment teams, I can handle a room full of students and a 180 days of instruction. This is a great bill. The only thing it can do is increase the pool of possible teachers. The inadiquates should still be filtereed out. And Pat, on a side note – 90% of Republicans are middle class so I think you need to pull you head out of your… Dayton signed it. :p

    1. Huh? says:

      Hey Chris- TEACHING is not about being smart. Great, you are really smart(and like to let everyone know it), that does not mean you can teach it. Some of the best teachers, coaches etc are the ones who were mediocre at their craft because they can relate to their audience and convey they message in a way that the kids can understand.

    2. To Chis (?) says:

      I’m not thinking I can keep up with you in math Chris – but I doubt you will keep up with me in the pharmacy lab either. And I would not consider teaching a classroom of youthful bodies without some serious specialized traning. Nor want anyone to attempt the same with our children when they begin school.

      Now as for you – on a personal note I read the last 4 sentences of your comments 3 times. I hope and pray you do not enter the profession at all. Your language, your spelling ,,, your tone. Not in my school, as they say. Sorry.

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