Teacher Credentialism Commentary

Joe Nathan:

I agree with Scott Croonquist, executive director of the Association of Metropolitan School Districts, which represents more than 40 suburban and urban districts. Croonquist told me on March 13 his organization agrees with many others: “The new system has only been in effect for half a year. We have no data to support changes.”

Anoka-Hennepin teacher Drew Moldenhauer, who spent 11 years as a police officer in Ramsey and has earned a master’s degree, might lose his job under proposed revisions in the law because he does not have a teaching degree. He also teaches classes at Hennepin Technical College. If proposed changes are made, he believes, “It will be very difficult to attract good, professional police officers to teach due to career instability.” That’s because proposed revisions allow a state agency to decide whether he can keep teaching, even if the district wants to keep him.

Nicole Tuescher, Anoka-Hennepin district executive director of human resources, testified recently in a Minnesota House committee, “We need time to collect information on how the currently adopted structure serves our students.” She pointed out that “positions in our district’s robust career and tech education program … might go unfilled” if changes are made.

Tuescher also explained the new approaches “look promising toward statewide efforts to ensure a diverse teaching corps.”

Josh Crosson, senior policy director with Minneapolis-based EdAllies, agrees with Tuescher. He told legislators on March 13 that almost 900 “teachers of color” are in the categories that opponents want to restrict. While teachers of color and American Indian teachers represent about 5 percent of Minnesota’s public school teachers, they represent about 10 percent of the teachers in categories that opponents want to restrict.

Related: Mulligans for Wisconsin Elementary Reading Teachers.