Sunday, April 06, 2008

Interesting Week Ahead. I know I've been saying that almost every week, but this week does promise to provide a few wrinkles in what has largely been an uneventful session. A press conference has been scheduled for tomorrow (Monday, April 7) to announce the legislative response to the PS Minnesota report. The legislative task force members who met last interim have developed an initial bill that seeks to incorporate a number of the policy viewpoints proposed in the PS Minnesota final report. I had the privilege of discussing some of the broad framework goals with House staff and several of the task force members and I think this initial effort will prove to be interesting.

The House K-12 Funding Division will hear the bill on Thursday, April 10, at 9:00 AM in Room 5 of the State Office Building. I am sure there will be data runs available.

The House K-12 Funding Division will also be hitting the road on Wednesday evening for a hearing on special education policy in the Rocori School District. The hearing will be held at Rocori High School starting at 7:30 PM. The address for Rocori High School is 534 5th Avenue North in Cold Spring. House hearings tend to last an hour-and-a-half, so if you're in the area, it might be worth your time to roll on by and see what the presentation entails.

Elsewhere in the Legislature this Week. Final procedural votes on the budget balancing package will take place in the Senate on Monday with the conference committee perhaps beginning its work by week's end. It will be interesting to see how the Legislature approaches the negotiations on the omni-humungo-wider than the Great Missouri-budget balancing bill. With all of state government entailed in the bill, I anticipate that there will be work groups for each subject area within the budget and that these smaller groups would forward their recommendations to the conference committee members. I doubt that there will be that much difference between the House and Senate, but there obviously is quite a chasm between the Legislature and the Governor. Again, I will keep you posted as things take shape.

Nice Work MASA/MASE! MASA/MASE always put together a great conference and the spring conference last week was no exception. The keynotes were great. The break-outs were great. But what I found especially inspiring was the closing luncheon, at which two titans of education leadership in Minnesota's history were recognized for their contributions to Minnesota's tradition of education excellence. Pictured at right are former US Senator Mark Dayton and former US Representative and Minnesota Governor Al Quie, who each received recognition for their courage, determination, creativity, and tireless support for education throughout their careers, both in their careers as elected officials and as members of the public-at-large.

Quie was recognized by MASA, while Dayton was recognized by MASE for their work. Listening to each of them, one can hear the passion they both possess and how highly they regard the education community. Coming full circle with the first portion of this post, as we move ahead with the principles laid out in the PS Minnesota report and try to make those principles real with solid and tangible legislation, we need to constantly remember the efforts of those who have gone before us and how we need to continue to enlist them and utilize their viewpoints and perspectives as we work to make the dream of a quality education for all of Minnesota's students a reality.

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