Minnesota Panel Calls for Teacher-Education Changes

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The staff of the Minnesota Higher Education Coordinating Board has issued 18 recommendations for revamping the state's teacher-education and licensure system.

The recommendations include a request to the legislature to fund a $5-million-per-year mentor-teacher program in which highly competent teachers would be selected and paid to help beginning teachers. The program would cost $100,000 for plan-ning in the first year and approximately $5,000 per new teacher for about 1,000 teachers thereafter, according to Philip M. Lewenstein, a spokesman for the board.

The staff also recommended that the legislature allocate $110,000 annually to fund an alternative-education program for a limited number of college graduates who have proven their talents in other careers.

And they recommended that the legislature fund a $150,000 teacher-evaluation process for granting continuing licenses. The cost of developing and testing the model process would increase to $200,000 after the first year and would cost $1 million a year to implement, according to Mr. Lewenstein.

Legislative Mandate

The board study was mandated by the 1984 legislature under the Omnibus School Aids Act. The board, which is a state agency that plans for and coordinates all post-high-school education in Minnesota, is made up of 11 citizens appointed by Gov. Rudy Perpich. Board members will consider the staff's report, which cost $20,000 to develop, at a Dec. 13 meeting.

The report also recommended that the legislature grant authority to the Board of Teaching to:

Name a panel to recommend changes in the curricula of teacher-education schools that reflect state priorities for learning, changing roles for teachers, and economic and social trends that will affect educational needs.

Determine whether legislatively mandated courses for teachers should be included in preservice programs or taken after initial licensure.

Develop rules to require teacher-education programs to admit students only after they have demonstrated college-level competencies in verbal communication and mathematical reasoning in an independent evaluation.--ab

Vol. 04, Issue 13

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