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In re Application of Baker

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

January 8, 2018

In the Matter of the Application of Kimberly Baker.

         Minnesota Board of Teaching OAH Docket No. 5-1302-33332

          Bethany M. Gullman, Ll. Rhyddid Watkins, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for relator Kimberly Baker)

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Nathan J. Hartshorn, Assistant Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent Minnesota Board of Teaching)

          Considered and decided by Jesson, Presiding Judge; Cleary, Chief Judge; and Connolly, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         Minn. Stat. § 122A.23, subd. 2 (2016), does not require an applicant to show that the training program underlying her out-of-state teaching license is similar to the training program underlying the Minnesota license for which she applies.

          OPINION

          CLEARY, CHIEF JUDGE

         In this certiorari appeal, relator Kimberly Baker challenges a decision by respondent the Minnesota Board of Teaching (the board) denying her application for a Minnesota special-education teaching license. Because we hold that the board's decision was based on an error of law, we reverse and remand.

         FACTS

         Baker received her Iowa teaching license (Iowa license) in 2002 after graduating from the University of Northern Iowa's unified program and completing two student-teaching experiences. Baker's Iowa license allows her to "teach children from birth through [age eight][1]" including students with disabilities. Iowa Admin. Code r. 282-13.26(3)a. (2016).[2] In November 2013, Baker applied for three Minnesota teaching licenses based on her Iowa license: (1) early-childhood education; (2) elementary education; and (3) early-childhood special education (ECSE). In April 2014, the board issued the first two licenses to Baker, but denied the ECSE license because the "Iowa License did not result from essentially equivalent training to that required by Minnesota." An ECSE license allows a teacher to "provide evaluation and specially designed instruction to eligible children, birth through age six, who exhibit a broad range of developmental delays or disabilities." Minn. R. 8710.5500, subp. 1 (2016).

         In 2015, the Minnesota Legislature amended Minn. Stat. § 122A.23 governing licensure for applicants with out-of-state licenses.[3] The law, with such changes noted with underlining (additions) and strikeouts (deletions), provides:

Subd. 2. Applicants licensed in other states. (a) Subject to the requirements of sections 122A.18, subdivision 8, and 123B.03, the Board of Teaching must issue a teaching license or a temporary teaching license under paragraphs (b)(c) to (e) (f) to an applicant who holds at least a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university and holds or held a similar an out-of-state teaching license that requires the applicant to successfully complete a teacher preparation program approved by the issuing state, which includes either (1) field-specific teaching methods and, student teaching, or essentially equivalent experience, or (2) at least two years of teaching experience as the teacher of record in a similar licensure field.
(b) The Board of Teaching may issue a standard license on the basis of teaching experience and examination requirements only.
(c) The Board of Teaching must issue a teaching license to an applicant who:
(1) successfully completed all exams and human relations preparation components required by the Board of Teaching; and
(2) holds or held an out-of-state teaching license to teach the same a similar content field and grade levels if the scope of the out-of-state license is no more than two grade levels less than a similar Minnesota license, and either (i) has completed field-specific teaching methods, student teaching, or equivalent experience, or (ii) has at least two years of teaching experience as the teacher of record in a similar licensure field.

2015 Minn. Laws 1st Spec. Sess. ch. 3, art. 2, § 18, at 25; see also Minn. Stat. § 122A.23, ...


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