Parents of Minnetonka immersion students are still looking for a new decision on basic skills tests for immersion teachers and hope for some changes at the state legislature as soon as this week.
A new law requires all teachers to pass a basic skills test before teaching in public schools.
However, some parents believe the level of English proficiency required in the test for Chinese and Spanish immersion teachers is impractical.
"One of the goals of our immersion program is to hire teachers with native-level fluency in the immersion language," commented one parent.
As of publication of our poll, 111 votes were cast in the Patch Poll published March 20 (included here for another round of voting). To answer the question "Should immersion teachers have to take the basic skills test?," 45 people voted "Yes, the same test as all teachers, in English;" 44 voted "Yes, a similar test in their native language;" 10 voted "No, they shouldn't have to take the test at all;" and 12 voted "Yes, but give them extra time to pass the English test."
It should be noted that the last option was added just before 9 a.m. when the article was published earlier that day.
Sen. Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka) has introduced legislation giving immersion school teachers who already have a provisional license until 2014 to pass the exam.
"The last thing we want to do is penalize these outstanding students, teachers and programs because of an unintended consequence of the law," Bonoff told the Star Tribune.
In the House, Rep. Connie Doepke (R-Minnetrista) introduced a bill that would grant the extension for all teachers who have a provisional license.
Apparently, 400 teachers who are already teaching will have to pass the test before going back to the classroom next school year. Another 1,100 "hopeful" teachers have failed the test and have license applications pending, according to the Star Tribune.
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, teachers who failed the test could get a three-year provisional license that allowed them to teach while trying to get a passing score. The teacher licensing exams are currently only offered in English.
The new law requiring all public school teachers to pass the test before they can teach took effect in late February.
Via Takako Kawabata