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DFL Rep. John Ward is chief author of HF0171, a bill that would gut the teacher accountability bill Gov. Dayton signed into law last year. Here’s the key part of Rep. Ward’s bill:

1.16 (b) The board must adopt rules to approve teacher preparation programs. The board,
1.17upon the request of a postsecondary student preparing for teacher licensure or a licensed
1.18graduate of a teacher preparation program, shall assist in resolving a dispute between the
1.19person and a postsecondary institution providing a teacher preparation program when the
1.20dispute involves an institution’s recommendation for licensure affecting the person or the
1.21person’s credentials. At the board’s discretion, assistance may include the application
1.22of chapter 14.
1.23(c) The board must provide the leadership and adopt rules for the redesign of
1.24teacher education programs to implement a research based, results-oriented curriculum
1.25that focuses on the skills teachers need in order to be effective. The board shall implement
2.1new systems of teacher preparation program evaluation to assure program effectiveness
2.2based on proficiency of graduates in demonstrating attainment of program outcomes.
2.3Teacher preparation programs including alternative teacher preparation programs
2.4under section 122A.245, among other programs, must include a content-specific,
2.5board-approved, performance-based assessment that measures teacher candidates in three
2.6areas: planning for instruction and assessment; engaging students and supporting learning;
2.7and assessing student learning.

Last year, the GOP legislature passed a bill with much more objective criteria for measuring a teacher’s qualifications:

1.1A bill for an act

1.2relating to education; repealing the requirement that licensed K-12 teachers pass
1.3a basic skills examination in reading, writing, and mathematics as a condition
1.4for receiving a teaching license

Rep. Ward’s legislation, undoubtedly written at the request of Education Minnesota President (and registered lobbyist) Tom Dooher, would eliminate the verifiable, objective, requirements for getting a teachers license. What’s worse is that Rep. Ward’s legislation would replace those objective requirements with subjective, significantly less verifiable, requirements. There isn’t a single thing in this paragraph that’s objective:

The board must provide the leadership and adopt rules for the redesign of teacher education programs to implement a research based, results-oriented curriculum that focuses on the skills teachers need in order to be effective. The board shall implement new systems of teacher preparation program evaluation to assure program effectiveness based on proficiency of graduates in demonstrating attainment of program outcomes.

Who determines what “skills teachers need in order to be effective?” Tom Dooher? That’s laughable. Mr. Dooher’s job, both as a lobbyist and as Education Minnesota’s president, is to protect teachers. His job has nothing to do with guaranteeing great educational outcomes for K-12 students.

Rep. Ward’s legislation would utterly gut the objective criteria established in last year’s licensure reform legislation. That’s a predictable outcome because the DFL cares more about their special interest allies than they care about putting highly qualified teachers in each classroom.

Based on the legislation submitted thus far, it’s apparent that the DFL will do its best to repeal the sensible reforms that the GOP legislature passed. This legislation is proof that the DFL’s agenda is much lengthier than the list of things they campaigned on. That’s because the DFL knows it wouldn’t be the majority party in the House of Representatives if they would’ve campaigned on making it easier for unqualified teachers to get a teachers license.

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