Immersion Education in the 2013 State Legislative Session
None of the bills to modify the 2012 law requiring teacher candidates to pass a basic skills test before receiving their license to teach passed the 2013 legislature. The law has made it difficult for dual language and immersion program administrators to hire teachers with native second language skills who are also licensed to teach in Minnesota.
MAIN members and parents of immersion students worked hard this spring to educate state representatives and senators about the staffing needs of Minnesota's immersion schools. Advocates had hoped to have alternate means available to determine a candidate's English proficiency.
In the end a non-native speaker of English who does not pass the Basic Skills test may hold a temporary license for 36 months but must eventually pass the exam to receive a permanent license.
The Omnibus Education Bill which was passed in April requires a new Teacher Licensure Advisory Task Force to make recommendations, by February 1, 2014, to the Board of Teaching, the education commissioner, and the education committees in the legislature concerning the content of the Basic Skills examination, provisions to be made for applicants with disabilities, and alternative pathways for non-native speakers of English.
Text in the Ominbus bill related to teacher licensure can be found in Article 3, Sections 4-6 and Section 13.