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S.F. No. 1555 - Increase Teachers of Color Act
Author: Senator Carla J. Nelson
Prepared By: Bjorn E. Arneson, Senate Analyst (651/296-3812)
Date: March 6, 2017


Section 1. Alternative teacher professional pay system. Provides that a locally-developed alternative teacher professional pay system agreement (“Q-comp” agreement) may include a hiring bonus or other added compensation to provide students with equitable access to highly-effective teachers, those who have demonstrated skills at closing achievement gaps, or those that are hired to work in high-need, hard-to-fill positions, or hard-to-staff schools. Provides that the agreement may include incentives for teachers to obtain additional credentials or training required to teach concurrent enrollment courses. Provides that the agreement may fund a “Grow Your Own” new teacher initiative for non-licensed educational professionals, including those who are of color or American Indian.

Section 2. Teacher mentoring, induction, and retention programs. Encourages school districts to develop teacher mentoring, induction, and retention programs. Requires that teacher mentoring programs support districts' teacher evaluation and peer review processes. Authorizes a district to use staff development revenue, special grant programs established by the legislature, or another funding source to pay a stipend of up to $500 to a mentor.

Section 3. [Concurrent enrollment] courses according to agreements. Encourages participating schools, school districts, and postsecondary institutions to develop and offer an "introduction to teaching" or "introduction to education" course. (The bill also appropriates money for grants to encourage districts to offer these types of courses.) Requires grant recipients to annually report to the commissioner on the participation rates of students in “introduction to teaching/education” courses, including the number of students who apply for admission to colleges or universities with teacher preparation programs.

Section 4. Teacher shortage loan forgiveness program. Provides that, for the purpose of the loan forgiveness program, “teacher shortage area” includes groups underrepresented in the teacher workforce. Increases the maximum annual amount of loan forgiveness to $2,000 per applicant. Requires the commissioner of the office of higher education to report on loan forgiveness program participation by racial and ethnic group, among other criteria. Appropriates money.

Section 5. Collaborative urban and greater Minnesota educators of color programs. Expands the program to include a competitive grant open to applicant colleges and universities from throughout the state. Requires that in fiscal year 2021 and later, grants must be awarded only to programs that demonstrate success in recruiting, retaining, and inducting teacher candidates who are of color or are American Indian.

Section 6. Expanded Grow Your Own pathways to teacher licensure. Authorizes school districts and charter schools with more than 25 percent enrollment of students of color or American Indian students to participate in the Grow Your Own grant program. Clarifies the administration of tuition scholarships or stipends under the grant. Requires programs to annually report to the commissioner on activities under the grant. Appropriates money.

Section 7. Appropriations. Appropriates money for (1) American Indian teacher preparation grants, (2) Expanded concurrent enrollment grants for institutions offering dual-credit “introduction to teaching/education” courses, (3) mentoring, induction, and retention incentive program grants for teachers of color, and (4) the teacher shortage loan forgiveness program.

Effective dates. All sections are effective July 1, 2017.

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