MSBA at the Capitol — Committees examine bills relative to assessments, out-of-state licensure, board elections

In the House …

In Tuesday’s House Education Innovation Policy Committee, Rep. Peggy Bennett presented HF 1392. This bill proposes to change the statewide system of assessments and high school graduation requirements by requiring computer-adaptive reading and math tests in grades 3 through 8, instead of grade 7.

The proposal would also require students in grade 8 in 2014-15 school year and later to take MCAs in reading, writing and math to graduate from high school. The bill includes a recommendation from the Testing Reduction Advisory Group. A lengthy debate included clarification on the author’s intention of not reinstating cut scores. The bill was passed and re-referred to the House Higher Education Committee.

The committee also reviewed Rep. Debra Kiel’s proposal (HF 645) that would make applicants holding a valid out-of-state teaching license who are offered employment in Minnesota to be eligible for a Minnesota teaching license if they: complete a three-year probationary period in a single school district, are not charged or advised of a board’s refusal to renew the teacher’s contract during the probationary period; become eligible for a continuing contract; and undergo a criminal background check.

MSBA testified in support of the bill, as it’s one of the tools that will help school boards to hire and retain highly qualified teachers.

The committee approved HF 645 and sent it to the House Education Finance Committee.

For further reading on HF 645, click here for a related Session Daily story (“Teacher shortages could be helped by out-of-state licensure reform, advocates say”). 

In the Senate …

The Senate Rules and Administration Subcommittee on Elections had a first look at the omnibus elections bill (SF 455, authored by Sen. Katie Sieben).

The bill includes a few provisions that would impact school boards: ensuring that when a school board changes from seven to six members, three members are elected at each election (instead of two members at one election and four the next);  requiring a school board to hold a special election to fill vacancy if more than one year remains in the unexpired term, and an appointment may be made (with a prior public hearing) to fill vacancy if less than one year remains on a term; and allows school districts to have early voting.

The committee will be taking testimony on this proposal at another hearing.

Please visit www.mnmsba.org/LegislativeCalendar to view the education committee schedule.

MSBA will be conducting a presentation on education technology at 12:45 p.m. today in the House Education Finance Committee. Visit www.house.leg.state.mn.us/htv/schedule.asp for access. 

About mnmsba

The Minnesota School Boards Association, a leading advocate for public education, supports, promotes and strengthens the work of public school boards.
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