The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching. This goal was reorganized in 2021.
Emergency License(s) Availability: Minnesota offers the Tier 1 license to districts unable to fill a position with a teacher holding a Tier 2, 3, or 4 license. An applicant for a Tier 1 license must have one of the following in the the content area to be taught: a bachelor's degree, an associate degree, professional certification, or five years of relevant work experience.
The state also offers the Tier 2 license. This license allows teacher candidates enrolled in a teacher preparation program to teach in their licensure area while they complete their program requirements. This license is also available to an applicant holding a master's degree or the equivalent in the assignment area. In addition to the content knowledge requirements required by the Tier 1 license, a candidate for a Tier 2 has several options for meeting a coursework requirement, one of which is passage of the applicable content knowledge exam.
Emergency License Validity Period: Minnesota's Tier 1 license is valid for one year and may be renewed. For the first renewal, the district must demonstrate there is an ongoing need and the applicant must demonstrate that they have "attempted the board-approved content examination aligned to the assignment." The applicant must also have an evaluation based on the state's evaluation system. Second and third renewals have similar requirements except attempting the content examination. Additional renewals require the district to demonstrate that the Tier 1 teacher is teaching in: a career and technical education field, licensure field shortages, economic development region shortages, and in "regions where there is a shortage of licensed teachers who reflect the racial or ethnic diversity of students in the region."
The Tier 2 license is valid for two years and may be renewed three times. In order to be renewed, the applicant must participate in cultural competency training. For renewals greater than three years, requirements must be established by the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB).
COVID-19 State Policy: Minnesota has implemented the following changes to its rules regarding Provisional and Emergency Licensure. Teacher preparation candidates unable to take Minnesota licensure exams who have a current job offer in their licensure area can be issued a Tier 2 teaching license. Candidates without a current job offer can apply for a short call substitute teaching license. COVID-19 policies do not affect the state's grade in Provisional and Emergency Licensure.
Requirements for Out-of-State Teachers: Because licensure requirements for out-of-state teachers are scored in Requirements for Out-of-State Teachers, only the state's policies regarding emergency/provisional license(s) are considered as part of this goal.
Minnesota Administrative Rules 8710.0311 and .0312 Minnesota Statutes 122A.181 and .182 COVID-19 Information: https://mn.gov/pelsb/covid19/
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 license for three years or more 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 did not respond to NCTQ's request to review this analysis for accuracy.
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.