ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — There’s a good chance it may soon be easier to become a certified teacher in Minnesota.
A bill that would streamline the certification process has bipartisan support and is expected to make to the governor’s desk.
It’s known as the most important occupation there is — sometimes thankless, always important.
“I love seeing kids who had not done well, all of the sudden blossom,” Joe Nathan of the Center for School Change said.
Joe Nathan is a former St. Paul teacher and says he’s excited about a new bill that would make it easier to qualify to teach in Minnesota.
“The process is more complex and there have been lots of complaints,” he said.
He says the streamlined licensing would make it easier to hire professionals to fill math, science and technical roles, and that it would help recruit teachers of color and out-of-state teachers, like Minnesota State Senator Eric Pratt’s mother.
“Fourteen years of experience, and she couldn’t get a teaching license in Minnesota,” Sen. Pratt (R-Prior Lake) said.
Sen. Pratt, a former school board member, introduced the bill.
“We want to make it easier for school districts to put teachers in the classroom, in front of kids, that are high quality teachers,” he said.
But a lot of Minnesota teachers take issue with one part of the bill. Minnesota’s teachers union says it would allow some people to teach who don’t have a bachelor’s degree.
“Some may see it as an attack on who they are,” Rep. Carlos Mariani said.
Rep. Mariani (DFL-St. Paul) says he empathizes with teachers who object, but he plans to support a revised version of the bill he believes could inspire more to lead.
“I think the idea is, how do we get really good, competent people who care in, and let’s get them up on a more classically certified status,” he said.
Lawmakers are talking out in conference committee and this could be on the governors desk as soon as next week.