Group plans to sue if controversial teacher licensure changes are adopted

In effect, "faithful Christians, Muslims, and Jews need not apply under this unconstitutional rulemaking," the Upper Midwest Law Center said.


The Upper Midwest Law Center said it plans to sue the state of Minnesota if it moves forward with a plan to require teachers to “affirm” students’ gender identities.

The majority of the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board’s proposed modifications to teacher licensure requirements were approved by a judge in December. These changes will require teachers to “disrupt oppressive systems,” acknowledge the role of “white supremacy” in undermining “pedagogical equity,” affirm students’ gender identities, and more.

“The teacher creates opportunities for students to learn about power, privilege, intersectionality, and systemic oppression in the context of various communities and empowers learners to be agents of social change to promote equity,” says one of the requirements.

In effect, “faithful Christians, Muslims, and Jews need not apply under this unconstitutional rulemaking,” the Upper Midwest Law Center (UMLC) said.

“The finalized rules would require prospective teachers to publicly support and incorporate gender ideology into their curriculum. In addition, the new rules would mandate that teachers instruct students on the controversial Critical Race Theory (CRT) that teaches students to view the world based on skin color instead of merit,” UMLC explained.

Attorneys Doug Seaton and James Dickey submitted public comments to the board in August, arguing that the “proposed rules suffer substantial constitutional defects and are invalid under state and federal law.”

“In short, the proposed rules compel teachers seeking a license to agree with or speak agreement with the government’s ideological and religious position, contrary to their beliefs. In other words, the proposed rules impose an ideological litmus test on those who wish to serve Minnesota’s public-school children as teachers. This ‘compelled speech’ violates the most basic provisions of our U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment,” they wrote in their public comments.

A judge signed off on most of the changes anyway. The board is now in the process of writing and adopting a final draft.

“UMLC has been tracking this matter for over a year and plans to present a legal challenge to the new licensing regime should the proposed rules go into effect,” the group said.

According to the Center of the American Experiment, public opposition to the changes was “overwhelming,” with the majority of public comments submitted expressing disagreement with the new requirements.

Dozens of Republican legislators signed a letter opposing the licensure changes, calling them a “blatant end run around the rights of parents to participate in the adoption of or to opt out of objectionable curriculum.”

“The proposed standards comprise the basic tenets of cultural Marxism, dividing people into racial and gender groups, and as oppressors or the oppressed,” the Child Protection League said in public comments.

Most of the changes will take effect immediately after they are adopted.

“We have lots of parents who are upset by this sort of thing in schools already,” Seaton told The Federalist in an article this week. “They’re going to be even more upset with how their teachers are going to be licensed. Their teachers are going to have to be faced with hiding their beliefs or getting denied [for a state teaching license].”


Sheila Qualls

Sheila Qualls is an award-winning journalist and former civilian editor of an Army newspaper. Prior to joining Alpha News, she was a Christian Marriage and Family columnist at and a personal coach. Her work has been published in The Upper Room, the MOPS blog, Grown and Flown, and The Christian Post. She speaks nationally on issues involving faith and family.