Minnesota opening up more paths for people to become teachers

Stateline Midwest Vol. 20, No. 3: March 2011

Individuals interested in entering the teaching profession in Minnesota will be offered alternative pathways to certification under a bill that has received the backing of Republican legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton.

Policymakers believe SF 40 will help the state reach several of its educational goals: addressing the projected shortfall of teachers, bringing more people with strong content expertise into the classroom; and increasing teacher diversity.

According to the St. Cloud Times, higher education institutions in the state will have a limited role in overseeing the alternative-certification programs. Instead, the state’s Board of Teaching will approve the programs. Education Minnesota, a state teachers union, has expressed concern that SF 40 will lower standards for entering the teaching profession.

According to the National Center for Alternative Certification, in 2008-09, eight states in the Midwest issued 2,374 certificates to individuals entering teaching through alternative routes (up from the 133 certificates issued in 1998-99): Illinois, 672; Indiana, 690; Kansas; 382; Michigan, 116; Minnesota, 84; Nebraska, 92; South Dakota, 26; and Wisconsin, 312.