Minnesota Teacher Licensing ‘Confusing,’ ‘Complex,’ and ‘Broken,’ Audit Finds

Stephen Sawchuck:

Minnesota’s teacher-licensing system is broken—and should be overhauled, beginning by consolidating the two state agencies that administer it, the state’s Office of the Legislative Auditor said in a report released March 4.

There isn’t any easy way to summarize just how convoluted this all gets over the report’s 100 pages, which detail the state’s “complex, unclear, and confusing” system, to quote from auditor James Nobles’ letter. But are a sampling of some of the findings:

The split between the state’s board of teaching, which sets licensing requirements, and the state education department, which makes decisions about licensing and issues licenses, blur the lines about duties and accountability, confusing teachers and leading to finger-pointing among agency officials.

The state’s licensing statutes and the regulations carrying them out don’t even use the same terms to describe the same type of licenses.
Multiple loopholes and exceptions to the rules, combined with a series of legislative changes over the past five years, have further complicated the issues.

When it denies licenses, the state often doesn’t provide teacher candidates with enough information about why.