The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching. This goal was consistent between 2015 and 2017.
Emergency License(s) Availability: 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 Board of Teaching can also issue temporary teaching licenses to "an otherwise qualified candidate who has not yet passed the board-adopted skills exam."
Emergency License Validity Period: Minnesota's temporary 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.
The temporary teaching licenses are valid for one year and can be reissued four times—that is, a teacher can teach up to four years without having passed applicable licensing exams.
Minnesota Administrative Rules 8710.1250; 8710.0400 Minnesota Statutes 122A.09, Subdivision 4 and 122A.18
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, because it enables adults who may not be able to meet minimal state standards to earn teaching licenses. Minnesota should ensure that all teachers are required to pass licensing tests — an important minimum benchmark for entering the profession —before entering the classroom as the teacher of record.
Limit exceptions to one year.
Although suboptimal, there may be limited and exceptional circumstances under which conditional or emergency licenses are necessary. 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.
Minnesota declined to respond to NCTQ's analyses.
6B: Provisional and Emergency Licensure
Teachers who have not passed content licensing tests place students at risk. While states may need a regulatory basis for filling classroom positions with a few people who do not hold full teaching credentials, many of the regulations permitting this put the instructional needs of children at risk, often year after year. For example, schools can make liberal use of provisional certificates or waivers provided by the state if they fill classroom positions with instructors who have completed a teacher preparation program but have not passed their state licensing tests. These allowances are permitted for up to three years in some states. The unfortunate consequence is that students' needs are neglected in an effort to extend personal consideration to adults who cannot meet minimum state standards.
While some flexibility may be necessary because licensing tests are not always administered with the needed frequency, making provisional certificates and waivers available year after year could signal that the state does not put much value on its licensing standards or what they represent. States accordingly need to ensure that all persons given full charge of children's learning are required to pass the relevant licensing tests in their first year of teaching, ideally before they enter the classroom. Licensing tests are an important minimum benchmark in the profession, and states that allow teachers to postpone passing these tests are abandoning one of the basic responsibilities of licensure.