Bookends. It was an interesting day of testimony in education-related (and other) committees. The morning started out with testimony from the a variety of interests in the House Education Finance Committee presenting a number of perspectives on early childhood education and support programs. It was an informative discussion and there is push-back from some quarters who believe, that while the cause of making certain that children throughout Minnesota are prepared to enter school ready to learn, the government has usurped the role of the family in these efforts. Makes for interesting discussion. The second bookend dealt with the other end of the pre-K through 12th grade spectrum with testimony provided in the Senate Education Policy Committee outlining strategies for making students college and career ready. Testimony was provided by Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, Chancellor Steven Rosenstone from the Minnesota State College and University system, Commissioner Larry Pogemiller from the Minnesota Office Higher Education, and staff from the Mounds View School District and Irondale High School describing the early college program being pursued at the school in conjunction with Anoka-Ramsey Community College.
Wedged between these bookends was the first day of testimony on firearms policy in the state. As I was leaving the House Education Finance Committee this morning, there was a throng of pro- and anti-gun control advocates waiting to enter the hearing room from which I was departing. The discussion of how to reduce gun violence is going to dominate the House Public Safety Budget and Policy Committee this week, with a variety of proposals. I don't see Representative Tony Cornish's (R-Vernon Center) proposal to allow teachers and school administrators to carry firearms at school.
MinnPost story on Gun Legislation: http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2013/02/house-gun-hearings-open-charged-polite-arguments-both-sides
Texas Court Decision. The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that Texas' education funding system to fail to meet Texas' constitutional standards for providing education services to its student population. Texas has lurched back and forth over the past couple of decades with the state's system being rule unconstitutional (at least once in my recollection) previously. Those of us who follow school funding litigation find this decision interesting, as the language in the decision is similar to that in recent court decisions in Colorado and Washington that found those states' systems in violation of their respective state constitutions.
Here are a couple of stories about the Texas decision:
Fort Worth Star-Telegram: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/11/20/4430062/judge-in-education-lawsuit-wonders.html
National Public Radio: http://www.npr.org/2013/02/04/171113168/judge-rules-texas-school-funding-method-unconstitutional
Education Week: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/02/04/589635ustexasschoolfinancetrial_ap.html