Bill could hurt Urban Educator/Teachers of Color program

A Republican bill to restructure and weaken the Urban Educator/Teachers of Color program was sent to the Senate floor by the E-12 Education Committee. We know that to succeed, students need quality teachers in their classrooms. Instead of weakening programs to encourage more teachers of color, we should be working to enable more BIPOC Minnesotans to become teachers. Students do better when they identify closely with their teachers and their values.

The Collaborative Urban Educator program has been in place for a few decades. However, it was expanded to include Greater Minnesota college programs, and the administration transferred the program to the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). The bill originally transferred administration back to MDE and added a provision allowing school districts to award hiring bonuses to teachers of color who were hired to teach in shortage areas, and there was no additional money provided to the $2.099 million appropriated last session.

But the Republican author of the bill made a quick switch with an amendment that kept administration of the bill with PELSB and added non-traditional teacher preparation programs to the list of potential award grantees. This move, if it were to become law, could weaken teacher prep standards and teacher quality, which could ultimately hurt students and widen the state’s opportunity gap.

Senate Republicans continue to hear and pass bills that funnel state dollars to private companies/groups and weaken teacher preparation requirements and credibility.

The bill was sent to the floor over DFL opposition. It has no House companion. (SF 3630)