House approves teacher skills-test extension

/ 23 April 2012 / jennifer

Kim McGuire, Associated Press (Star Tribune), April 23, 2012 –

House approves teacher skills-test extension

Classroom teachers who failed the basic skills exam will have another year to pass under a measure approved by the Minnesota House on Monday.

The provision was part of the education omnibus bill which, among other things, grants a one-year extension to about 400 teachers with provisional licenses.

A bill signed into law in February by Gov. Mark Dayton requires aspiring teachers to pass a basic skills exam before leading a classroom. In the past, teachers could get a three-year provisional license until they passed the test.

After the plan became law, supporters of the state’s immersion schools urged lawmakers to give them more time to take and pass the test. The Minnesota Department of Education sought an extension for all teachers, saying the new requirement could prohibit 400 classroom teachers from returning next year, triggering staffing shortages across the state.

In other highlights, the omnibus bill also stipulates that 35 percent of a school principal’s evaluation be tied to student performance — the same benchmark to be used to measure teachers.

Annual principal evaluations become mandatory during the 2013-2014 school year.