By George Kimball, White Bear Lake Area School Board Member (MSBA representative to Teacher Licensure Task Force)
The December 5 meeting of the Teacher Licensure Task Force opened with a review, in the form of oversize Post-it notes hanging on one wall, of the specific options identified by task force members during the November meeting.
These options included detail under the headings of:
- Eliminate Test (MTLE Basic Skills) and Replace With … (alternative ways to show competency in reading, writing and math — to be selected from a menu of suggestions)
- Keep Test But … (make adjustments/revisions from a menu of suggestions)
Task force members were each provided with colored “stickers” with the direction to place up to two green stickers next to the specific option detail they preferred to see as the task force’s recommendation, and up to two red stickers next to specific options they definitely did not want to see implemented.
When the “sticker” work was completed, more than 70 percent of the task force members supported the overall option of recommending to eliminate the test and replace with … while just under 30 percent voted to keep the test, but …
The specific suggestion boasting the highest number of “green” stickers under the “Eliminate the Test” option was to connect assurance of mastery of reading, writing and math skills to successful completion of the accredited teacher licensure prep program.
The other high-ranking specific alternative was to show mastery through a menu of options such as a portfolio, successful demonstrations while teaching under a limited license and successful completion of relevant college coursework.
The group also discussed “other topics to consider” including but not limited to how to handle teachers licensed in other states, and whether separate requirements should be considered for specialty license areas such as immersion and special education.
The final meeting of this Task Force will take place on January 16, 2014. At that meeting the group will need to fine-tune its “Eliminate the Test and Replace With …” and recommendation as well as reach closure on the “other topics to consider.”
Visit http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/Welcome/AdvBCT/TeachLicenTaskForce/index.html for more information about this task force.