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Minnesota Faces Teacher Shortage, But How Best To Fix It?

Minnesota faces a growing shortage of teachers in key specialties, and educators and policymakers are divided over how to attract and retain qualified teachers.

Administrators argue that Minnesota’s strict licensing requirements and union rules make it difficult to attract and retain highly effective and diverse teachers. Teachers union leaders say that state law already gives schools flexibility and that the rules Minnesota has now ensure students get the best teachers possible.

As lawmakers debate ways to address the state’s teacher shortage, some worry the proposed changes could lead to risky unintended consequences. Complicating the debate is state data on Minnesota’s teaching force that sometimes paints a conflicting picture of the hurdles and shortages described to lawmakers.