House votes to change teacher hiring practices
The Minnesota House voted Monday to make changes in teacher hiring practices. The bill seeks to address teacher shortages, but DFLers have concerns about the legislation.

The House bill combines two state teacher licensing boards into one. House Republicans say the old way of hiring teachers was "complex and confusing." They say this new model will simplify the process and attract more teachers to the state.

"We're blessed in this state to have a lot of people that are experts in the field who decide to have a career change later on in life," said Rep. Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth. "If this helps them get in the classroom and use that knowledge of actually being out in the work force and in some of these fields, that is value that our students could benefit from."

Those in favor of changing the current system say it will not compromise standards and candidates would need to pass a series of tests to qualify.

If the bill passes, a new four-tiered licensing system would be put in place. But, not all legislators think this is a good bill. Some Democrats believe it could make the teacher shortage worse.

"Part of the cause of the teacher shortage is the relentless Republican attack on public education and our teachers," said Rep. Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park. "Just a few days ago on this house floor, Republicans voted to under fund again which could cause teacher layoffs across the state. Republicans use teachers and our schools to score political points year after year."

The House vote was 76 to 55 in favor of the bill. The Minnesota Senate will take up the issue next.

Eric Nelson, reporting



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