A group of Minnetonka parents with students in the Chinese and Spanish language immersion programs are worried about a new law that requires all teachers to pass a basic skills test before teaching in public schools.
However, some parents believe the level of English proficiency required for the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Basic Skills Test is not basic and goes beyond conversational English.
"One of the goals of our immersion program is to hire teachers with native-level fluency in the immersion language," commented one parent.
Public school teachers were already required to take the basic skills test but did not have to pass before they began teaching. Under the old law, would-be teachers who failed the test– as about 30 percent did– could get a three-year provisional license that allowed them to teach while trying to get a passing score, according a Star Tribune article.
The new law requiring all public school teachers to pass the test before they can teach took effect in late February.
The teacher licensing exams are currently only offered in English.
"We hold our immersion teachers to the same high standards for hiring that we hold for our English teachers, but we do not expect nor want them to be teaching in English," wrote a concerned Minnetonka parent. "Our model is proving very effective, and we don’t want it negatively impacted."