Minnesota, one of the leading states on academic achievement–but in Minneapolis, with one of the largest racial achievement gaps in the country–discussed changing the qualifications for teachers in the last legislative session, with Rep. Carlos Mariani (D-Saint Paul) carrying legislation to strengthen the legal status of programs such as Teach for America and Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) offered similar legislation.
Also under consideration were measures to incorporate measures of student performance in teacher evaluations.
The push for reforms will continue, says Minnesota Public Radio:
Gov. Tim Pawlenty pushed to change the standards for teacher’s licensure and move toward a merit-based evaluation system. Though the proposals fell under heavy opposition from the state’s teachers union, the ideas retain enough bipartisan interest that they’re likely to carry into next year.
The teacher licensure measures would’ve affected two groups of people — new college graduates who don’t have a traditional education degree but still want to teach through programs like Teach for America and mid-career professionals who want teach but without taking years to get an education degree.
If a high-achieving state like Minnesota can be considering such changes, surely Kansas should as well.