Licensure Loopholes: Minnesota

Exiting Ineffective Teachers Policy


The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching.

Does not meet goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Licensure Loopholes: Minnesota results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Minnesota's policies

Minnesota allows in-state teachers who have not met licensure requirements to teach under temporary limited licenses if a particular position cannot be filled by a licensed teacher. Applicants must have "completed a college or university degree with at least a minor in the area for which teacher licensure is requested." This license is also available for out-of-state teachers who have not passed Minnesota licensing tests.

The limited license may be renewed twice.  For renewal, in-state and out-of-state teachers must verify that they have taken the skills area examination and that they are participating in an approved remedial assistance program for support in the test areas that were not passed.


Recommendations for Minnesota

Ensure that all teachers pass required subject-matter licensing tests before they enter the classroom.
All students are entitled to teachers who know the subject matter they are teaching. Permitting individuals who have not yet passed state licensing tests to teach neglects the needs of students, instead extending personal consideration to adults who may not be able to meet minimal state standards. Minnesota should ensure that all teachers pass licensing tests— an important minimum benchmark for entering the profession—before entering the classroom.

Limit exceptions to one year.
There might be limited and exceptional circumstances under which conditional or emergency licenses need to be granted. In these instances, it is reasonable for a state to give teachers up to one year to pass required licensing tests. Minnesota's current policy puts students at risk by allowing teachers to teach on a temporary limited license for three years without passing required licensing tests, especially since the state's policy acknowledges that some of these teachers are permitted to continue teaching despite having failed all or some sections of the required examinations.

State response to our analysis

Minnesota recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

Research rationale

Research has shown that "the difference in student performance in a single academic year from having a good as opposed to a bad teacher can be more than one full year of standardized achievement." See E. Hanushek, "The Trade-Off between Child Quantity and Quality," The Journal of Political Economy 100 No. 1 (1992): 84-117. Hanushek has also found that highly effective teachers can improve future student earnings by more than $400,000, assuming a class of 20.  "The Economic Value of Higher Teacher Quality." National Bureau of Economic Research. Working Paper 16606 (2010).