A new education advocacy group plans to push lawmakers this spring for two teacher-related proposals.
The group is called the Minnesota Campaign for Achievement Now (MinnCAN). Executive director Vallay Varro said creating more alternatives for people to become teachers and creating a more robust teacher evaluation system will help close the state's achievement gap between white students and students of color.
Varro said the group is politically centrist and seeks commonsense solutions to the state's education problems. Varro is a former member of the St. Paul school board.
Varro said MinnCAN is affiliated with 50Can, a group designed to spread the policies of a Connecticut group called ConnCAN. ConnCAN is known for its support of charter schools in that state.
Varro said she wants to work with teachers unions, not against them.
"I think this is going to be collectively all of us coming together to say 'what's going to work?' and until we can do this together, I don't think we're going to be serious about moving forward any conversation," Varro said.
Several alternative licensure bills have already been introduced at the Capitol. The state's teachers' union Education Minnesota opposed such proposals last year.
The group says it will only support alternative licensure if it doesn't weaken the rigor needed to become a teacher.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)