Majority of controversial teacher licensure rule changes approved

The approved changes politicize teacher training requirements, using language that is clearly political and ideological, not academic.

Gov. Tim Walz greets students on the first day of school at University Avenue Elementary in September 2021. (Office of Gov. Tim Walz/Flickr)

(Center of the American Experiment) — A report from the administrative law judge tasked with reviewing proposed amendments to the state’s licensure rule for teachers has been released.

The 86-page report responds to rule changes to teacher licensure programs proposed by Gov. Tim Walz’s Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) that include requiring aspiring educators to “demonstrate” ideologically driven content in their coursework to obtain their teaching license. American Experiment first drew attention to some of the most concerning proposed changes in May.

Under state statute, PELSB is given authority “to adopt rules governing teacher licensure, preparation programs, and pedagogical standards (Standards of Effective Practice or SEP).”

Public opposition, particularly to the Standards of Effective Practice, has been overwhelming, with the proposed changes even receiving national attention. The Standards of Effective Practice — which aspiring educators must “demonstrate” in their licensure program coursework within the 35 different teacher preparation providers in the state, even if they plan on teaching at a charter school, private school, or religious school — will be focused on below.

According to PELSB, the Standards of Effective Practice identify the “fundamental knowledge and skills needed to ensure Minnesota’s teachers are prepared to teach all of Minnesota’s students.” Unfortunately, the approved changes politicize teacher training requirements, using language that is clearly political and ideological, not academic — from Critical Race Theory and identity politics to gender ideology.


The report, finalized by a chief administrative law judge, signed off on the majority of proposed amendments, but disapproved of certain rule parts deemed outside the scope of PELSB.

Proposed rule part 8710.2000 4(F) was disapproved by the chief administrative law judge — originally approved by the administrative law judge — on the grounds it “exceeds” PELSB’s authority because it deals with curriculum.

“The teacher features, highlights, and uses resources written and developed by traditionally marginalized voices that offer diverse perspectives on race, culture, language, gender, sexual identity, ability, religion, nationality, migrant/refugee status, socioeconomic status, housing status, and other identities traditionally silenced or omitted from curriculum.”

Also disapproved by both the chief administrative law judge and administrative law judge because of “exceeding” PELSB’s authority was proposed rule part 8710.2000 5(H).

“The teacher encourages critical thinking about culture and race and includes missing narratives to dominant culture in the curriculum.”

And proposed rule part 8710.2000 7(D).

“The teacher identifies gaps where the current curriculum does not address multiple perspectives, cultures, and backgrounds, and incorporates curriculum to fill these gaps.”

All other proposed rules, including all proposed rule parts under the Standards of Effective Practice Standard 8 “Racial Consciousness and Reflection,” were approved. These include:

  • “The teacher understands how ethnocentrism, eurocentrism, deficit-based teaching, and white supremacy undermine pedagogical equity.”
  • “The teacher understands multiple theories of race and ethnicity, including but not limited to racial formation, processes of racialization, and intersectionality.”
  • “The teacher understands that knowledge creation, ways of knowing, and teaching are social and cultural practices shaped by race and ethnicity, often resulting in racially disparate advantages and disadvantages.”

Also approved is a rule part calling for teachers to assess their biases and “mitigate their own behavior to disrupt oppressive systems.”

“The teacher assesses how their biases, perceptions, and academic training may affect their teaching practice and perpetuate oppressive systems and utilizes tools to mitigate their own behavior to disrupt oppressive systems.”

Proposed rule part 8710.2000 4(H) was approved too. The administrative law judge originally disapproved this rule part, but was overruled by the chief administrative law judge, who approved it.

“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.”

Rule parts on gender identity and sexual orientation include:

“The teacher fosters an environment that ensures student identities … such as … sex and gender, gender identity, sexual orientation … are … affirmed, and incorporated into a learning environment …”

Next steps include seeing if PELSB chooses to make changes to correct the disapproved rule parts or if they will decide to just remove them from the rule draft. If changes are made, those would then be submitted to the chief administrative law judge for approval. Then the rules in a final form will be adopted.


Catrin Wigfall

Catrin Wigfall is a Policy Fellow at Center of the American Experiment.

Catrin’s experience in education and policy research began during her time with the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. Her interest in education policy led her to spend two years teaching 5th grade general education and 6th grade Latin in Arizona as a Teach for America corps member. She then used her classroom experience to transition back into education policy work at the California Policy Center before joining American Experiment in February 2017.

Catrin graduated summa cum laude from Azusa Pacific University in California, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.