Betwixt and between – Update for May 10, 2013

VERY EXCITING – this just in! The E12 Conference committee has scheduled a hearing on Monday, May 13, at 9 AM in Room 10 at the State Office Building. They are slated to review the Omnibus provisions on teacher evaluation and assessments. If you are interested in this process, this would be a great hearing to attend.

Betwixt and between

The E-12 conference committee met Thursday and Friday to review side-by-side comparisons of their respective Omnibus bills and adopted a very few provisions that were the same in both bills. Other provisions are being considered thematically – early childhood, All Day K, teacher evaluation, assessments….  Fiscal components will have to wait until a global agreement between the House, Senate and Governor is decided upon.

Listening to the review of both bills, I was struck by several observations. Both bills direct funds to their commitments: early learning, improved relevance/alignment of assessments to college/career readiness, and reducing funding and achievement disparities.

The House bill concentrates on providing a statewide system to facilitate learning and a focus on building the best work force in America. The Senate concentrates on funding stability and simplification of the funding formula. The next step will be for these different bills to be reconciled to one in a Conference Committee Report. (View a side-by-side comparison of HF630.)

An interesting complication is the Senate tax bill that has several provisions that affect education funding, notably a one-year operating levy freeze that was amended on the floor of the Senate and improved equalization language. All of these bills are working very creatively to both fund schools and lower property taxes. It is very interesting to track the nexus between these bills that have to be considered in both Tax and E12 conference committee.

Freshman Senator Greg Clausen, an educator from Apple Valley-Rosemount-Eagan schools and a chief author of the E12 Omnibus bill, shares his thoughts in Clausen believes in Omnibus bill.

Things happen at a very quick pace at this time of session. Conference committee meetings and floor sessions are often at the “call of the chair” and so timing is in flux. If you are trying to follow the happenings, check our Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, or text me at 651-214-6565. It really is the best way to keep track!

Hangout with the Vice-Chair of Senate E-12 policy

Last week we shared an opportunity to join another Senate educator. Several of us were able to join in on this first-of-its-kind event. Missed it? Watch a video of Senator Dahle’s Hangout.

Parents United’s 11th Annual Parent Leadership Summit

This annual event never fails to bring a great group together and this year we’re looking forward to a lively conversation about renovating our school system. Remember to register to join us on May 23!

Don’t forget to check out the Summit reading list. It’s a one-of-a-kind list that we think
you’ll find informative and thought-provoking. Find the complete list at our Summit page.

Parents in Action

My final Monday Conference Call will be held Monday, May 13 at 12:30 pm. This is a chance for Parents United to share intel with you and for you to network with others involved in this work.

Conference Call Instructions for Participants:

  • Call 952-230-4464
  • Enter conference ID number: 200060#
  • Select Option 2
  • There will be silence until others join.
  • To minimize background noise, once a meeting begins please mute your phone (see below). (Just remember to un-mute when you have something to say.)
  • To mute your part of the call, press *, then press 1; to un-mute, repeat.

Technology limits how many folks we can accommodate on the call – so join early! 

An interesting read

I have become increasingly interested in the writings of Michael J. Diedrich, Policy Associate at MN 2020. In Packing Up the Chessboard he hits on a key to why the public discourse on schools has become so difficult and slow in producing results.

One could be forgiven for thinking education reform in this country is a giant chess game. After all, there appear to be two sides, the reformers and the status quo. The board is broken into clearly distinguishable “policy squares”: pawn to performance pay, queen’s knight to charter school expansion.

We are used to thinking like this, and the media will indulge us by producing a public narrative laden with dramatic conflict and cunning strategies. The downside of this mindset, of course, is that we miss out on the ideas and thinkers that don’t fit the black-and-white framework.   Read more

________________

Mary Cecconi, Executive Director
Parents United for Public Schools
1667 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul, MN 55108
651-999-7391; mary@parentsunited.org