Letter: Substitutes need Minnesota licenses

We would like to respond to Rep. Erickson’s views on education that were printed in the Jan. 8 Union-Eagle.
When Rep. Erickson advocates for allowing substitute teachers to cross state lines into Minnesota, she is opening the door for less qualified teachers in the classroom. Minnesota’s comprehensive requirements for teacher licensing means Minnesota has the top trained teachers in the United States. Other states do not have the same teacher licensing requirements as Minnesota. Why would we allow anyone with less training anywhere near our students? If someone can’t pass the requirements for getting a Minnesota teacher license, then they shouldn’t be in a Minnesota classroom. There are many qualified, Minnesota-licensed substitute teachers available, but they can make more doing other work than they can as a substitute, so they choose not to teach. The solution is not to bring in cheap substitutes that don’t have a Minnesota license. The solution is to pay Minnesota licensed substitutes a competitive wage.
When Rep. Erickson proposes changes in teacher hiring, what she is really proposing is removing due process rights for teachers. Besides having the best trained teachers in the United States, teachers here are on probationary status for their first three years and can be removed from the job at any time. After the first three years of teaching, teachers can be let go through the process of teacher evaluation. Eliminating due process rights for teachers is not necessary. It is a solution looking for a problem that doesn’t exist.

Kent Lestrud, Mary Bahe
Co-presidents
Princeton Education Association