Updated Legislation to Diversify the Teaching Workforce

During the 2019 legislative session, the Minnesota Legislature named the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing Standards Board (PELSB) as the administrator of the Collaborative Urban and Greater Minnesota Educators of Color (CUGMEC) Grant program, formerly known as the Collaborative Urban Educators (CUE) Grant. The goal of this grant is to recruit and support people of color and American Indians into the teaching profession.

This is a dynamic opportunity to recommend people of color and American Indian staff who are interested in pursuing a teaching career.

For participating colleges and universities that offer the CUGMEC Program, please contact yelena.bailey@state.mn.us.

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Webinars for broadband grant application process set for July 24-25

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On Wednesday, July 24, and Thursday, July 25, the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development will host a series of three webinar/WebEx toll-free calls to support the 2019 broadband grant application process and to answer potential applicant questions.

This webinar will introduce this year’s changes to the program, walk through the application requirements, review the scoring criteria, and answer questions. Join any one of the following scheduled webinar sessions:

  • Wednesday, July 24, at 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 25, at 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Thursday, July 25, at 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

To register, send an email with your contact information (your name, organization, address, email address, and telephone number) to david.j.thao@state.mn.us, also copying DEED.broadband@state.mn.us.

Please indicate which session you plan to attend. You must register to receive further instructions on how to access the meeting and the associated materials. The information presented on each call will be the same, so you only need to select one session in order to participate fully.

Direct questions about registration to David Thao at 651-259-7442. If you have specific questions about the grant program, contact Cathy Clucas at cathy.clucas@state.mn.us or 651-259-7635.

Any general questions can be directed to DEED.broadband@state.mn.us or 651-259-7610.

Source: Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)

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Hands-free cell phone law goes into effect August 1

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Gov. Tim Walz signed a new hands-free cell phone bill into law April 12 to help further reduce distractions behind the wheel.

Starting August 1, drivers will no longer be able to hold their cell phones in their hands. They will be able to use their phones to make calls, text, listen to music or podcasts and get directions, but only by voice commands or single touch activation without holding the phone.

Visit the HandsFreeMN website or access the Hands-Free Law Fact Sheet for more information.

Source: Minnesota Department of Public Safety

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Gov. Walz orders flags at half-staff in honor of former Justice John Paul Stevens

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Source: Office of Governor Tim Walz & Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan

In accordance with a proclamation issued by President Donald Trump, Gov. Tim Walz has directed all flags at state buildings in Minnesota be flown at half-staff from sunrise until sunset on Tuesday, July 23, to honor former Justice John Paul Stevens.

“Justice Stevens was a brilliant legal mind and dedicated his life to public service, having served on the Supreme Court for nearly four decades,” reads the proclamation from Gov. Walz. “In concurrence with the President’s order and in remembrance of Justice Stevens and his many contributions as a member of the U.S. Supreme Court, it has been ordered that the American and Minnesota flags at state buildings and facilities be flown at half-staff on July 23.”

View a copy of Gov. Walz’s proclamation.

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Department of Education Invites Special Education Planning Grant Applications

This week, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services invited states to apply for planning funding designed to help them increase instructional time and reduce administrative burdens. The grant program seeks to promote academic achievement for students with disabilities by providing technical assistance, supporting model demonstration projects, disseminating useful information, and implementing activities that are supported by scientifically based research. The estimated available funds for this program total $1,500,000. The Department will not make an award exceeding $150,000 for a single budget period of 12 months. Applications are due by August 14, 2019 and further information is available here.

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Department of Education Publishes IDEA Implementation Letters

The Department of Education released their “2019 Determination Letters on State Implementation of the IDEA”. IDEA requires every state to write a State Performance Plan and Annual Performance Report evaluating its efforts to implement the law and plans for improving its implementation activities. The law outlines four general categories for the Secretary of Education to evaluate the state’s work:

·       Meets the requirements and purposes of IDEA;

·       Needs assistance in implementing the requirements of IDEA;

·       Needs intervention in implementing the requirements of IDEA; or

·       Needs substantial intervention in implementing the requirements of IDEA.

School board members can review their state’s determination status on the U.S. Department of Education’s website.

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Committee to Examine School Safety Practices, including Related Student Data Use

On July 25, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled “Examining State and Federal Recommendations for Enhancing School Safety Against Targeted Violence”.  Among other topics, the committee plans to examine emerging state and local efforts to use student data to promote school safety. The hearing was prompted, in part, by growing concern about a Florida plan to create a statewide school safety database.

In 2018, Florida lawmakers approved a law placing notable new requirements on school districts, including an obligation to share a vast array of sensitive, personally identifiable student data with law enforcement and state agencies. Responding to an inquiry by Education Week, the Florida Department of Education (FDE) said that covered data could include students’ course schedules, participation in scholarship and dropout-prevention programs, past homeless status, immunization status, and even the Individualized Education Plans of students in special education. The new law requires FDE to coordinate with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to create “a centralized integrated [student] data repository” and data analytics resource. The student data repository’s purpose is to help leaders make decisions about students that may pose a public safety threat. By law, the database must include – but is not limited to – “timely, complete, and accurate information” about students from social media, the Florida Department of Children and Families, FDE, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, and local law enforcement.

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