Update for February 26, 2016: Let’s talk about it!

Join us for Parents United’s annual Legislative Kickoff! This is one of our favorite conversations! We’ll share the most recent information we have about the upcoming session and discuss current issues with the best “in-the-know” parents around. Bring a friend! This year we are pleased to offer the Kickoff in two locations.

The event is free, but please register so that we know how many people to expect.

At the Capitol

Food for Thought from our Finest

In January, Senate Education Chair Wiger invited a handful of Minnesota’s Teacher of the Year recipients to share with policy makers advice they might offer from their experience. The line up reflected a wide range of classroom experience – ECFE, Elementary, English Language Learning, Science, English and more.

Commonalities among the testifiers included requesting legislators provide greater attention to children’s social, emotional, cultural and personal well-being, and ensure schools have the resources necessary to provide students the best possible supports and practices.

We’ve pulled together a summary of their testimony, but the video is terrific to watch!

This week, the Senate convened a Joint Meeting of the Committee on Education, Committee on Health, Human Services and Housing and Health and Human Services Budget Division to discuss the overlap of services for children birth to age five. The intention was to bridge the silos that make funding decisions affecting educational programs for Minnesota’s youngest learners.

Testifiers covered a wide range of issues, including current funding, the Minnesota Child Care Assistance Program (MCCAP), the efficacy of early education, mixed delivery systems, expansion of Minnesota’s Way to Grow Program and education partnerships. A parent, Sinying Lee, captivated legislators with her story of being waitlisted and finally receiving early learning scholarships for her three children and the impact it has had on all members of her family. A major focus seemed to be “unconscionable” waitlists; 15 counties have MCCAP waitlists of over 3-5 years for scholarships.

Worth A Second Look

It’s seldom we endorse a point of view, but we were struck by how the article “New Study Suggests Education Reformers are the Ones Failing to Learn,” from The Nonprofit Quarterly, reflects what we’ve observed in education policy for more than ten years.

Of interest to all concerned about the future of American education should be a new study done by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), “Low Performing Students: Why They Fall Behind and How To Help Them Succeed,” which can provide the basis for moving beyond a clash of educational philosophy to a more fact-based foundation for effective policymaking.