Update for May 20, 2016: Down to the Wire

/ 20 May 2016 / Shawna

At the Capitol

At this time of session, tracking provisions that are actually in the education bill becomes challenging! While waiting for Majority Leader Bakk, Speaker Daudt and Governor Dayton to reach a bargain on money, the supplemental budget conference committee has accepted policy provisions that ostensibly have no fiscal impact. Language in several provisions is still being negotiated between interested parties and members of the conference committee.

A few items of particular interest:

  • Each district will need to publish a testing calendar, with a reason for each test and whether it is a local option or required by federal or state statute
  • Unless negotiated in employee contracts, districts will need an assessment committee to provide testing recommendations to their school board
  • The Commissioner will be responsible for providing Crisis Response Team contact information for schools and helping to develop them statewide
  • Civics will be added to social studies standards (test requirement is yet to be negotiated)
  • Each district will need to examine their equitable distribution of effective, experienced, infield and diverse teachers
  • Districts will need to evaluate and identify students with dyslexia or convergence insufficiency disorder
  • Minnesota will adopt of national physical education standards
  • Students will be allowed to opt out of Phy Ed for religious reasons
  • Teachers will be required to have one hour of suicide prevention training
  • Several provisions that increase oversite of charter schools
  • Legislative study group will streamline Minnesota’s teacher licensure provisions
  • Prone restraint will be prohibited
  • All parental rights in statute that are related to education will be listed
  • On MCAs, if a student achieves a cut score set by the Commissioner of Education and approved by the Chancellor of MNSCU, MNSCU cannot require remedial courses of that student

Look more closely at the whole list of provisions from our friends Schools for Equity in Education, who did great work putting this side by side together.

One provision that is very interesting requires the commissioner to publish a testing opt-out form. The MDE must create and publish an opt out for parents that explains the reason for state academic standards, which tests are aligned to those standards, and what consequences, if any, the school or student may face if they don’t participate. The form must ask the parent/guardian for a reason for their refusal.

Once leadership agrees on how much, then we will quickly see which funding provisions will make it through. If there is a deal, it will happen tonight, tomorrow and Sunday. In order to meet their constitutional deadline of sine die on Monday at midnight, all bills will need to be passed off the floor by Sunday night. We will be there all weekend.

When the session ends Monday night, we will have much more to say about these provisions and others that we expect to be added over the weekend. Watch us on FB or Twitter and on Monday we will give you the full review of what was included in the final omnibus bill. Expect a Legislative wrap-up next Friday and please join us June 4 so we can answer all your questions!

What really happened for education this year?!

Join us on Saturday, June 4 from 10:30-12 at the Roseville Public Library community room for our annual Legislative Wrap-Up. We will discuss outcomes of the session and the implications for classrooms, teachers and students. We will also touch on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), including the timeline and differences from No Child Left Behind (NCLB). As this is our final Wrap-Up, we will recognize the work of Parents United over fourteen years. Please register now.

Teacher of the Year

On May 16, Abdul Wright was selected among 115 candidates for Minnesota’s prestigious Teacher of the Year Award. Wright is both the first black male teacher and the first charter school teacher to accept the award. He teaches eighth-grade language arts at The Best Academy in Minneapolis. 19 emotional pictures tell a thousand words. His colleagues describe him as a transformational teacher whose teaching, at the heart, embodies the respect he has for his students and hope he has for his community. Eric Mahmoud, CEO of the Harvest Network of Schools and the person who recommended Wright for the award, recognized, “For him to be an example and be recognized, it’s going to be powerful for the students.”

Worth a Second Look

On May 24, 2016, the Minneapolis school board plans to vote between Ed Graff or Brenda Cassellius. Graff’s message is that he will bring a paradigm shift to the district. Cassellius’s message is that she knows the district, the state and the job she needs to do to create positive change. Read more from MPR news.

We keep say we are waiting to hear what leadership decides on transportation, taxes and bonding, before we can tell you more about what will happen (or not happen) in education this year. But what does that mean? What decisions have to be made? What is in the balance? MPR News interviewed “leadership:” Governor Dayton, Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt, and Majority Leader Tom Bakk, this week about compromises they have to make before anyone knows what can be spent upon everything else the state pays for, including education.