Friday, January 09, 2009

Meeting with Governor and Legislative Leaders. The Governor and legislative leadership had a meeting with the education community this morning (Friday) and I had the honor and pleasure of attending. It was a very interesting meeting with spirited discussion of the current economic challenge and its effects on every aspect of Minnesota society and how the E-12 system fits into this. It was a somber meeting at a level, as the point was made time-and-again regarding the condition of the state budget and how it will be difficult to provide any state money for any purpose this coming session. At the same time, it was an exciting meeting, as we are heading into uncharted territory for government in general and E-12 education in particular.

Some of the usual culprits came up in the discussion of how schools can be provided more flexibility in this environment, namely mandates. There are currently several working groups discussing the topic of mandate relief and it will be important for everyone in the field to share what type of mandate relief would be in order. Please e-mail me your ideas on mandate reduction. Any and all ideas are welcome.

The discussion was free-flowing and there was honest give-and-take. The problem, of course, is that there is little or no hope for getting any increase in revenue this year. That makes the discussion, while interesting, a bit one-sided in terms of solutions and admittedly a bit depressing.

Still, my kudos to the Governor and the legislative leadership for suggesting and holding this meeting. Joanne Knuth, Executive Director of the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals, made one of the key points early in the meeting; that being that there needs to be a common vocabulary used by all parties as we navigate through these difficult straits. I could not agree more and I believe everyone in the room felt the same way.

We are looking at one tough destination, but hopefully we can make progress this year toward re-tooling the system and preparing for the challenging times ahead.

Bill Introductions. I am going to post links to the more prominent education-related bills on the blog to give readers the opportunity to see what is being introduced and the language in these bills. The Senate was the only body meeting on Thursday, so here are the major education-related bills introduced.

SF 10--Bonoff--Shared Services:

SF 11--Saxhaug--On-line learning changes:

SF 16--Olseen--Repealing 2008 changes to Green Acres law:

SF 19--Wiger--Increasing compulsary attendance age to 18:

SF 21--Wiger--Establishing P-20 Partnership:

SF 23--Wiger--Repealing Labor Day start:

SF 33--Olseen--Type III changes:

Hopefully, this will be a good way to keep everyone informed as to what is being discussed at the Legislature.

Comments Please. I am going to be using the blog a lot this year and I need to hear if it is working for you. My e-mail link is on the blog's main page, so feel free to drop a line.

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