November 11, 2005 – Parents United Update

November 11, 2005 – Parents United Update

 

Dates to Remember

 

January and February

“Legislators in our Schools Tours

 

March 1, 2006

Legislative Session Begins

 

What’s happening?

First, we are welcoming literally thousands of new people to our E-list.  Thank you so much for signing on and we hope that we provide you with important information in a timely manner!

 

Levies

The good news is that many attempted school levies passed this week, the bad news is that many levies needed to be passed this week in order to keep schools afloat. A 76% passage rate seems to imply that people will raise taxes for their local schools!

 

It would be impossible for your school districts to pass these levies with out your hard work.  Thanks to all of you who worked so hard in local campaigns for our schools. 

 

Check results at http://www.parentsunitednetwork.org/

 

The more we work on the issues surrounding public schools, the more apparent it becomes that these issues are statewide and therefore need statewide solutions.

 

The very reason for Parents United is to try and help coordinate that statewide voice.  We need to continue being united in our commitment to quality public schools for all children and refuse to be divided by geography, race, economy status, generation or the special needs of children.

 

We also congratulate those of you newly elected to serve on your local school boards.  It is a very tough job and we applaud you. We also send our congratulations to those who ran and were successful in raising critical issues!

 

Funding Study Update

In 2003, Governor Pawlenty commissioned an Education Funding Reform Task Force.  One of the longed for results of the study was to determine the cost of educating a child in the state of Minnesota. While the report on their findings in the summer of 2004 had significant findings, for a variety of reasons, the cost of educating a child was left undetermined.

 

As many of you know, several education organizations have raised the money necessary to complete the governor’s Funding Study, commissioning John Myers to do the work. Dr. Myers is nationally known for this work and has been involved in studying the funding of schools for two decades. We are anxiously awaiting the results of his work.   We should hear more after the first of the year.

 

2006

The 2006 legislative session begins on March 1.  Although it is not a funding year but a bonding year, it is an election year.  Every representative, every senator and the governor are up for election. This is a very good time to meet with your local legislators and candidates.  Many are looking for input and are very open to sitting down for a cup of coffee. They will not be in session until March and will have time to visit in their home district.

 

Again this year, we will be helping parents host legislative tours in their schools—those of you who have done it often can give advice to the “newbies”!  Our Legislators in our Schools program has become an annual event and a great opportunity for legislators to see the results of their work.

 

We are also working on our presence at the Capitol this year, making sure that our children and the public schools that serve them are in the forefront during the legislative session and the election cycle.  Each week we will bring parents in to committee meetings and to talk with their legislators. Come join us!  

 

We think this year we will see more attempted legislation on vouchers and the expansion of charter schools.  We also think we will see an expansion of Qcomp—the state’s program for teacher compensation linking increased pay with increased responsibility, aligned staff development and student performance.  We hope to a study on the impact of this program on student achievement.  We also hope to see work on value added assessments.

 

It should be a busy spring! Make sure you stay connected with our E-list to receive weekly updates during the legislative session.  And if you know of anyone who is interested please, have them visit our site—we are always interested in new voices!

 

Questions? mary@parentsunitednetwork.org