Parents trust their children will have access to certain things when they arrive at school every morning, things like a clean building, hot lunches, and a staff of well-trained professional educators. In our Duluth public schools, we currently have this in place.

You might not think about teacher training, but we educators do. Minnesota teachers have a long list of college classes we must take and tests we must pass before the state Board of Teaching grants us a teaching license. The requirements can be complicated, but they assure parents their kids' teachers are qualified.

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That's about to change. It's time for Duluth parents to start worrying. A bill approved by the Republican majority in the Minnesota House would change teacher licensing so someone without a bachelor's degree could teach in Minnesota for eight years. That's right. I'll say it again: without a bachelor's degree and for eight years. There's nothing in the bill to warn parents about this.

This bill would break the trust Minnesota schools have built with parents because some Republican lawmakers apparently want to fix the teacher shortage by lowering standards. It's the cheapest option, but it's shortsighted and plain wrong to cheat some students out of a trained teacher. There's no stability in this model.

We recently celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week. But it doesn't feel much like appreciation from the House majority.

Please tell Rep. Jenifer Loon, Sen. Carla Nelson, and Speaker Kurt Daudt to maintain high standards for teacher licensure before it's too late.

Bernadette Burnham



The writer teaches at Laura MacArthur Elementary School and is president of the Duluth Federation of Teachers.