Rep. Kline, Rep. Rokita release statement on U.S. Education Department’s final accountability regulations

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Source: U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee

Rep. John Kline (R-Minnesota), chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Indiana), chairman of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, issued the following joint statement regarding Monday’s release by the U.S. Department of Education of final regulations implementing accountability provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act:

The Every Student Succeeds Act embodies bipartisan reforms designed to put K-12 education back in the hands of parents, teachers, and state and local leaders. That is why we raised concerns with the department’s original proposal and why we remain concerned with this final accountability rule. While the department has made some improvements, this expansive regulation is still flawed and still places too much authority in the hands of federal bureaucrats. Congress and the next administration will have to work together to fix the problems this department is creating to ensure these important reforms are implemented in a way that fully adheres to the letter and intent of the law. That is the only way states and schools will have the flexibility they need to provide every child an excellent education.

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U.S. Department of Education releases final regulations for Accountability and State Plans

Source: National School Boards Association

Six months after proposing draft regulations for Accountability and State Plans and four months after the public comment period closed, the U.S. Department of Education posted the final rule on its website Monday morning. The 483-page public document has not yet been officially published in the Federal Register, but goes into effect on January 30, 2017.

The National School Boards Association filed extensive recommendations on the draft rule and also conducted an in-person meeting with the Office of Management and Budget to provide additional comment and reiterate concerns expressed in the formal public comment.

The Department issued a press release, fact sheet, and a timeline for identification of schools for support and improvement, in addition to the rule itself.

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NSBA statement on nomination of Betsy DeVos for U.S. Education Department secretary

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Source: National School Boards Association

November 23, 2016

Statement by Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director and CEO, National School Boards Association, on the appointment of Betsy DeVos, U.S. Department of Education secretary nominee

Education is a civil right and is necessary to the dignity and freedom of the American people. It is our legal and moral responsibility to provide a high-quality and equitable education to all students regardless of their circumstances, background, means, or place of birth.

The investment we make in our public schools determines the future of our children and our nation. While there are a number of important issues, we can’t let education fall off the public policy radar and risk shortchanging our nation’s 50 million public schoolchildren. Education is the foundation of our society as our public schools provide the educated, innovative, and prepared workforce of tomorrow.

Education is a key part of the solution to every challenge facing the country and the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and the more than 90,000 school board members are ready to work with Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald J. Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education to ensure every child has an opportunity to realize their potential.

NSBA looks forward to working with Ms. DeVos and the staff at the Education Department to get the ESSA regulatory effort back on the right track.

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Implementation of U.S. Department of Labor’s overtime regulation is delayed

Source: National School Boards Association

By Mary McKee, National School Boards Association (NSBA)

On Tuesday afternoon, a federal judge granted an emergency preliminary injunction to delay implementation of the U.S. Department of Labor’s overtime regulation set to take effect next week, on December 1.

As you know, the finalized regulations establish a new minimum salary threshold of $47,476 per year, for certain employees. This constitutes a 100 percent increase in the salary threshold for overtime eligibility and the accelerated implementation of the requirement exceeds the fiscal capacity of many of the nation’s school districts.

The judge noted, “[d]ue to the approaching effective date of the Final Rule, the Court’s ability to render a meaningful decision on the merits is in jeopardy.” The injunction will remain in place while the “Court determines the department’s authority to make the Final Rule as well as the Final Rule’s validity.”

Republicans in both the House of Representatives and the Senate have been working on plans to overturn the regulation under the Congressional Review Act, even considering adjustments to the legislative calendar to preserve the ability to take action on the regulation.

On Monday, NSBA submitted a letter to Sen. Lamar Alexander, Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Rep. Kurt Schrader, both of whom have filed bills to delay implementation of the rule, urging immediate legislative action to delay implementation of the rule and provide relief to school districts by establishing a multi-year “phase in” of the salary increases.

See https://cdn-files.nsba.org/s3fs-public/NSBA_Overtime_Rule_Letter_11-21-16-1.pdf to access NSBA’s letter.

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Education committee chairs named for 2017-2018 Legislature

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The Minnesota House of Representatives and the Minnesota Senate have named the chairs of their education committees for 2017-2018.

In the House, Rep. Jenifer Loon will again serve as the chair of the House Education Finance Committee. Likewise, Rep. Sondra Erickson will return to head the House Education Innovation Policy Committee.

The Senate will return to its traditional education committee structure that separates the policy and finance committees.

Sen. Carla Nelson was named the chair of the Senate E-12 Finance Committee. Sen. Eric Pratt will lead the Senate E-12 Policy Committee.

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MinnPost: 2017 Legislature is more ethnically diverse, but has fewer women

Source: MinnPost

When 200 newly elected or re-elected Minnesota legislators take their oaths of office in January, the Legislature will look a little different than it did before.

Specifically, there’ll be fewer women than there were previously, and more racial and ethnic minorities than there were — ever. But the Legislature is still not as diverse as the state as a whole.

Click here to view the full article at MinnPost.

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Cost for dual-credit programs to fall on shoulders of school districts

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The Minnesota State Board of Trustees met Wednesday, November 16, to hear an update that 76 percent of all instructors who teach dual-course classes in high school do not meet requirements to have a master’s degree or qualifying credits in their field. The update basically pointed to school districts paying more for dual-credit classes and paying for teachers’ credits to get the master’s degrees or qualifying credits.

M State’s survey of teachers found that 1,400 did not meet the qualifications set by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) to teach dual-credit courses. This means they don’t have a master’s degree in their class subject they are teaching, or if they have a master’s degree (but in a different field), they don’t have 18 graduate credits in the field for which they are teaching dual-credit courses. There are 25,600 students who take some sort of dual-credit course as a high school student.

“The prospect that some schools will have to reduce concurrent enrollment offerings causes significant concern for our member schools, educators, and parents,” said MSBA Executive Director Kirk Schneidawind.

M State has applied for a five-year waiver to the HLC to give teachers until 2022 to comply. The university system expects to know within four to six weeks on whether that request will be granted. If the waiver is not granted, the requirements go into effect in 2017 and would probably devastate any College in the Schools/dual-credit programs.

A working group looking at the requirements are also considering one other option: Team teaching. In this scenario, a certified college instructor would team teach a dual-credit class with a school district instructor. Again, if this option is chosen, the cost of hiring the college instructor would fall to K-12 schools.

Education Minnesota’s Executive Director Denise Specht, who is part of the M State working group, said that their teacher union groups are being encouraged to bargain for the costs of getting teachers qualified by having school districts pay for the graduate classes. So not only would districts pay extra for lanes (teachers who advance their education by taking classes), the district would also pay for the classes to get a degree.

Trustee Jerry Janezich asked if districts were to commit to covering some of the costs, shouldn’t M State put aside some money as well. He was quickly told by Margaret Anderson Kelliher that M State is not going to put aside money for this and is not going to be asking the legislature for money to cover these costs. “This will have to be a K-12 ask of the Legislature. One that we would support, but it would be a K-12 request,” said Kelliher.

Minnesota State Chancellor Steven Rosenstone was also very adamant that schools will have to pay for increased costs to offer dual-credit programs. Universities have three years to increase the price of dual-credit courses to cover costs; two-year colleges have five years to increase the cost.

“We cannot ask our students to subsidize the costs of instruction for high school students,” Rosenstone said.

MSBA is hoping that the system’s waiver is granted, but remains concerned that all of the increasing costs for the programs and the costs for getting 1,400 teachers to meet requirements will fall solely on school districts.

“We strongly suggest that additional discussions take place to accommodate the needs of Minnesota high school teachers, students and parents,” said Schneidawind.

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