ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — An alternative system for licensing teachers that would make it easier for Teach for America to expand in Minnesota is headed for a vote in the state Senate.

Republican Sen. Gen Olson says the Senate Finance Committee approved her bill on a 15-2 vote Tuesday. It now goes to the Senate as a whole.

She says the inspiration for the bill was Teach for America, the education organization that places recent college graduates in low-income public schools after a five-week training course.

The group currently has about 90 teachers in Twin Cities schools, they are licensed through what some consider a cumbersome process.

The state teachers union has suggested a different alternate licensing process, which is more restrictive and includes more supervision of new teachers.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (27)
  1. Anon says:

    I work in the medical field. I have a 4 year biology degree and an extra year of training after that. After working in the medical field for quite some time and I was able to legally teach biology in a school I would do it. Taking the huge pay cut wouldn’t be fun but money isn’t everything.

    However, I would never go back to college/school to teach something I know like the back of my hand. I also wouldn’t work in a low income area.

  2. A teacher says:

    Anon- It’s not necessarily about if you know the information in and out. It’s about knowing how to teach it to students, knowing how to read students, knowing what is best for each and every individual student. Teaching is more than just presenting known material to students, it’s figuring out how to teach it in multiple ways so that the information is relevant to the majority, hopefully all, of the students and not just a select few.

    1. A Mom... says:

      Bravo, A teacher- good pedagogy is essential. Knowing assessment is essential. Our classrooms have huge challenges- including discipline, language issues, transient students. Content knowledge alone is not enough.

  3. soapboxgod says:

    Why the hell all this “trimming around the edges” nonsense? Honestly, it’s nothing more than a blatant attempt at getting smart private sector inviduals rolled into and onto the government rolls. If you truly wanted to entertain something fresh and new with respect to education, you’d open up the market of ideas by foregoing the monopolization of it by government bureaucrats and union thugs.

    1. pat says:

      I agree. lets “open the market” to all professions, now. let’s stop messing around wit hthis licensure nonesense and just compete. I’ll be the brain surgeon. What will you be?

      1. Union Member says:

        Yes, I will be the CPA or Lawyer, lets break those thugs monopolization and bureaucratic organizations (yes they have organizations too–god forbid if the private sector does the same things a unions–going through lots of vigorous training and hoops), who the hell do THEY think they are.

      2. soapboxgod says:

        Very well, be the brain surgeon. And, if someone so desires to have you operate on them then the two of you may contract with each other and each one of you separately will assume the risks of the other.

        What will I be???….a philospher.

      3. soapboxgod says:

        Come to think of it, you’re right…these teachers are some real stand-up folks surely we can’t have just any old Joe be a teacher. Something bad might happen:

      4. Lawrence Shamsid-Deen says:

        to pat and union member there is nothing wrong with being licensed and qualified all professionals must or should have a license . Unions are not that bad without them you can not count on the bosses or politicians to protect you in the workplace. Lawyers have unions it is called the ABA and don’t believe the nonsense that they judges and lawyers protect each other just like the cops, fireman, sanitation, electrical workers carpenters I can go on and on. When it comes to lawyers just look at the Supreme Court and other judges who by the way are Lawyers , too. and if we are to agree with pat then allow me to be a doctor , lawyer and then I could compete as well with all the professions that have secured and protected, there own and in some instances have discriminated and kept others out because of ethic origins or the language they speak , or the color of their skin. You are all unreal if not hypocritical in your thinking. “Down with the unions that you are not a part of” unbelievable.

      5. David says:

        Yes … let us open it up … just like we did with the MORTGAGE MESS!!!! Get a clue … privatization does NOT work well in education or health care

    2. Can'tstanditanymore says:

      I will be whatever brain tart doctor Michelle Bachmann’s husband is. That way I will know I get a teat to nurse on even after she destroys all else. She’ll never let that nipple dry up. lol

  4. Pat says:

    I worked hard to earn my initial teaching certificate and in maintaining it over 30 years. I resent the very idea that a college graduate can become a proficient teacher in a five week training course. Further, I think it is beyond ridiculous to change our certification criteria so that a patricular group can more easily access our classrooms. If they want to be called teacher they ought to be willing to go through a regular educational training program. Why are we sending our least trained, least experienced instructors into the inner city? How could that be a susccessful program? Is it the best we can do? If the field were law and we needed more lawyers, would we approach licensure in the same manner?

  5. dunnski57 says:

    I flew in an airliner once. Perhaps the Minnesota Republicans would like me to take them up for a spin in a 747.

  6. SoftwareEngineer says:

    As an out-of-work software engineer, I’ve been signed up with and have yet to see a software lab guest lecture request for anyone within 100 miles of me. Most are down in Texas, or on the east or west coast. Doesn’t Minnesota have any need for software engineers now or ever?

    The point I’m trying to make is that there are people like me that would share some of our skills with young people in the classroom as a cooperative effort if teachers would get off of their high horses and ask for the help they so obviously need.

    The problem is that businesses hire where they can find qualified candidates and these candidates often clump together with like-minded individuals. This means that new and high-tech businesses will soon overlook Minnesota as a place where their interests are not well served.

  7. BigTodd says:

    Heck – I was on the Student Commitee at my HS in 1972. I want to be a CPA also but willing to settle for a MD I suppose if thats faster. Can I pick up my license tomorrow dear GOP?

  8. good grief says:

    What a slap in the face of an already disrespected field. You make me want to quit except for the fact that I do this for the kids. Good grief.

    Why are you changing laws for one group – Teach for America????

    Our state has wonderful education programs at colleges all around the state! You’re going to make it even harder for them to get the teaching positions when they’ve spent tons to get their education.

    Teaching is much more than spitting out the content. You try teaching 35 kids 7 different subjects all while dealing with parents, technology issues, standardized testing, psychological and learning disabilities, emotional disorders, etc.

    The practice of teaching takes EXPERIENCE. I ask all of the legislators to spend a FULL WEEK in a public school classroom. You wouldn’t last a week.

  9. Anita Powell says:

    It’s almost time to do as Egypt is doing and clean the worthless party(s) out.
    Nooooooooooooo – I did not say Bachmann. 😉
    Never her or that loony group – hate to say it but prefer the current kooks over the TeaNuts

  10. Clint Make My Day says:

    I stood in line for 3 hours to get my PhD license and started filling out the paperwork for my Attorney License. Took a long time to do – 3 questions on it and I only knew the first one which was my name. The second was my address – I have to look that up and come back in morning. Darn – I wanted to start my practice by noon

  11. Irv says:

    One point that has not been addressed here is the fact that we have a very large group of qualified, good teachers who don’t currently have a job. It’s not like we need to add a bunch of peopel who have no idea what ADHD, LD, IEP’s, 504’s, MCA’s and Title 1 have to do with education. (Dear representatives, who can tell me what they mean) This is just another tactic to try to tear down the MN system of education. The same system that consistently scores at the top in the nation on ACT scores. Sorry, I don’t think the system is nearly as broke as some law makers would like our public to believe.

    1. SoftwareEngineer says:

      It’s not relative to other states that the lawmakers are worried, Irv. It’s relative to other countries. Our whole country’s education system prior to the 4-year university that’s in the toilet and neglect on the part of lawmakers in the past is partially to blame.

      1. Teacher Educator says:

        Actually, that’s not true in MN – take a look at the TIMMS reports for the last several rounds. When MN competes as a ‘country’ against the other nations in the world, we rate in the top 5 in both math and science in grades 4 and 8. Somehow we never hear that news, what teachers in MN are doing RIGHT. Most teachers I know have foregone pay raises in the rural parts of the state for the past two years to save jobs of their peers. Now the legislature wants to freeze their pay indefinitely. What a great way to get good people into the profession! BUT wait – they have also put in a provision to allow teachers to deduct up to $100 of what they pay out of pocket for the kids in their classes. What nice folks they are – we should all write them a note to say thank you, right?!!! When do we start putting the needs of the children first?

  12. OMG - are they seriously doing this? says:

    My niece (hope she is not reading this) got a job in Minneapolis teaching “performing arts” thru the Teach for America program.
    I will be blunt – this never ever should have been the case. 24 years around her – I indeed do know what I am stating. A total blunder it was

  13. Student says:

    When I was at a community college in Minnesota and at a University in Wisconsin, not all that long ago, the people who could not make it in their field out in the world would end up teaching for less money to survive. What a waste of my time and a burden on students. These teachers are stumbling blocks for good minds.
    I think placing recent college graduates in low-income public schools after a five-week training course is perfect. Let them learn to teach and at the same time expect them to be learning their field of interest in the real world.

    My all time favorite teachers are those with real life experience who have mastered their field of study and who can also teach. Those are the ones we need in the colleges not the pretenders. Otherwise hand me a book and I will teach myself.

    1. WakeUp Folks says:

      here’s quite a few books for you. consider yourself lucky as now you get to save the extra tuition fees.
      btw – if this is something you interested in me wonders why you didn’t pursue it from day 1.
      Ohhh – you had no interest until now. Funny how that is.
      I went to school with several who went the other way and learned the stuff. ! was hired, 2 ended up in private sector jobs. Ironic I think

  14. Wrong idea you dummies says:

    Me wants a job. I want a job. I want a job. I cannot get a job elsewhere – I want a job. I don’t need no stinkin’ training. I want a job. I’ll whip the little bastids into shape in 1 day. Hire meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
    When things get better I will run to get a different job cuz this is to hard. Shhhhhhhhhhh. That’s my little secret with you. btw-I really don’t like kids much either. Times are tough so here I am. I’ll smoke a dubby with them and they’ll think I’m cool.

  15. Harvey Korte says:

    I am amazed and confused. How can our legislature even consider lowering teacher entrance standards? How do we compete with other states and countries? Do we have fast track entrance into law or medicine? If it is all right for educators, why is it not alright for lawyers, doctors, etc.

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