Donned with a highlighter and a three-ring binder with more 127 pages of the Senate Education Committee’s Omnibus Education Policy Bill (SF 2744), one could feel prepared for a rigorous review of the nine articles, multiple sections and subdivisions concerning education policy.
Traditionally, the committee would go through the bill in detail. Instead they jumped right in to hearing testimony from 15 associations or groups on Wednesday.
MSBA’s Grace Keliher thanked the committee for their work, especially given the short timeframe in which they had to hear the various bills. She testified on the following subject areas and we have provided MSBA’s positions below.
MSBA RESPONDS: Article 2, Section 3 — Site Teams
We urge caution when mandating all schools establish a site team that must include an equal number of teachers, administrators and at least one parent to develop and implement strategies and education effectiveness practices to improve instruction and testing.
MSBA RESPONDS: Article 2, Section 5 — Retention
When looking at achieving literacy goals by third-grade, we encourage adding language to current statute that further clarifies and encourages interventions each year for first-grade, second-grade and third-grade. We support providing meaningful and timely information, including recommendations and interventions to parents/guardians; however, we oppose the mandate of creating a personalized learning plan for each student not meeting grade-level reading, as determined by the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) exam. We also caution against utilizing retention as a remedy when this is a young student’s first experience with a statewide computerized assessment. As districts are working diligently to implement and monitor the progress of World’s Best Workforce (WBWF) goals, we encourage a pause to be able to truly measure the impact of the recent all-day kindergarten initiative and other WBWF goals.
MSBA RESPONDS: Article 2, Section 33 — Student Discipline Working Group
MSBA is to be included in the statewide Student Discipline Working Group and looks forward to providing a voice and working with other appointees.
MSBA RESPONDS: Article 7, Section 1, Subdivision 1a — Performance Measures
We believe that equitable access to effective and diverse teachers is a strategy. Requiring schools to provide data on proportional representation of teachers — especially teachers of color — as a goal of the WBWF, is adding more to WBWF midstream and could have unintended consequences of retaining 2 percent of noncompliant schools’ funding.
MSBA RESPONDS: Article 7, Section 1, Subdivision 5 — Reporting
MSBA requested a definition of the term “class size” under the teacher section of the bill.
MSBA RESPONDS: Article 7, Section 5 — Dual Enrollment
We believe the adoption of standards for the endorsement for dual enrollment instruction not reside with the Board of Teaching without funding.
MSBA RESPONDS: Article 7, Section 7 — Teachers’ Licenses
We value the Adult Basic Education (ABE) and Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) teachers and the instruction they provide. However, the students in these areas voluntarily participate in programs, unlike K-12 students. Therefore, enrollment numbers have more volatility and need to be monitored more closely.