Supporters hope new law increases number of non-traditional teachers

Several new laws take effect today across Minnesota, including one that supporters hope will increase the number of teachers who enter the profession through non-traditional ways.

When Gov. Mark Dayton signed the alternative teacher licensure measure into law in early March, it was an early example of bipartisan cooperation between the DFL governor and Republican-led Legislature.

Its early passage also meant it wasn't tied up in the budget negotiations or the state shutdown.

Methods already existed for licensing non-traditional teaching candidates, such as the alternative licensure program in St. Paul, and Teach for America.

The new law clarifies the process by which the state will approve such programs. Teach for America officials said it also means they won't have to go through an annual renewal process.

The state's teachers' union Education Minnesota opposed the new law, contending it will weaken the traditionally-high standards needed to become a teacher in Minnesota.

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