Since its creation on Jan. 1, 2018, the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) has designated diversifying the teacher workforce in Minnesota as a key priority. PELSB’s work includes identifying the financial, statewide, and systemic barriers that people of color face when seeking to become a Minnesota teacher. The Board is aligning its strategies to make tangible impacts, which includes directly addressing systemic school climate issues that impact both students and teachers of color.
In October 2018, PELSB adopted specific requirements for cultural competency training for all Minnesota teachers beginning in 2020, which the Board believes is one way to begin breaking down systemic barriers. The Board is requiring the training to include:
- Self-reflection and discussion about topics such as race, socioeconomic status, religion, systemic racism, and language diversity, among other topics; and
- Components that deepen teachers’ understanding of their own frames of reference, the potential bias in these frames, and the impact these frames have on expectations for and relationships with students, students’ families, and school communities.
PELSB has partnered with several individuals and organizations, including MnEEP, to begin developing a comprehensive cultural competency training curriculum to help teachers across Minnesota meet these new requirements. Trainers throughout the state will then be able to use this curriculum to engage teachers in understanding the importance of a welcoming school environment for all students and teachers, including how one’s own implicit biases can impact this environment.
PELSB is also updating administrative rules governing the standards for teacher preparation providers as well as the Standards of Effective Practice for all Minnesota teachers. In both of these rule-making projects, the Board is working with stakeholders to strengthen language in rule to ensure teacher preparation providers incorporate instruction on the role of teachers in disrupting patterns and systems of racism, privilege, and oppression when training their teacher candidates.
PELSB welcomes any questions and feedback regarding teacher licensure and efforts to diversify Minnesota’s teacher workforce. Feel free to contact PELSB by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-539-4200.
–—Alex Liuzzi, PELSB Executive Director