March 10, 2021

Protect Teacher Diversity in Minnesota

Dear Chair Richardson and members of the House Education Policy Committee,

On behalf of Educators for Excellence - Minnesota (E4E), a teacher-led nonprofit with approximately 2,300 members across the state, thank you for the opportunity to testify on House File 1081.

E4E-Minnesota supports many components of House File 1081, including,

  • The language from the 2021 Teachers of Color Act will make it a priority to recruit and retain diverse educators;
  • the promotion of non-exclusionary discipline measures which will keep students in the classroom and reduce discipline disparities; and
  • provisions that elevate access to advanced coursework through the World’s Best Workforce, particularly as it defines antiracism and outlines a mandatory process to examine the equitable distribution of teachers.

However, E4E strongly opposes provisions in Article 3 of the bill which would alter Minnesota’s proven and successful tiered licensure program by:

  • Limiting the use of licensure via portfolio for Tier 1 and Tier 2 educators
  • Removing the unlimited renewal for Tier 1 licenses
  • Reducing the amount of renewals for a Tier 2 license
  • Strikes the allowance of three years teaching experience under a Tier 2 license as serving as a qualification for a Tier 3 license

As a licensed Tier 4 teacher who began teaching under what is now known as a Tier 1 license, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to protect pathways into the profession for teachers like me. This committee has spent significant time and attention this session on raising the voices of diverse educators. It would be a shame to walk back the years of progress we’ve made through Minnesota’s tiered licensure system in making the state’s teacher workforce more diverse. 

While we urge legislators to remove these provisions of the bill during mark-up of the bill, we also look forward to a dialogue with you, Chair Richardson and members of the committee, over the remaining months of session to craft a bill that prioritizes smart and equitable education policy for everyone. 

Sincerely,

Paula Cole
Executive Director
Educators for Excellence-Minnesota