MLK Day. The Legislature was off today in honor of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but things will be picking up again tomorrow. I saw the movie "Selma" over the long weekend and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It's a truly moving piece of work. For those of us in the Baby Boom Generation, it was a reminder of those times--authentic newsreel footage and all--and a realization of how far, in some respects, the nation has come. There is still much to be done in terms of race relations and a lot of that work relates to education policy and making sure that all Americans have access to high quality educational opportunities. Although SEE doesn't work directly with any districts that are solely urban and only a few members have high concentrations of poverty and/or racial diversity, our mission is to make sure that all students have access to a solid education regardless of where they live in Minnesota. Seeing "Selma" today was a reminder of the importance of making certain those opportunities are there.
Facilities Update. Below is an article from the StarTribune outlining the efforts to improve funding for school facilities that will be made during the coming session. Senator Dahle's bills--SFs 75 and 76--will be heard in the Senate Education Finance Committee on Thursday morning. There will be several folks from SEE testifying in favor of Senator Dahle's efforts. The only thing from the recommendations of the Facilities Funding Working Group is the increased debt service equalization, but I am confident that will be discussed before the session is through.
MinnPost Article. Beth Hawkins over at MinnPost does a really good job covering education policy and here is a link to her outlook for the 2015 session that was published in Monday's edition of the online newspaper. If you don't already get your daily MinnPost e-news in your e-mail, I'd encourage you to sign up.
Federal Update. Here's an article from EdWeek regarding the renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. One of Minnesota's advantages in the renewal process is Representative John Kline hails from Minnesota and is very aware of the problems being faced by schools throughout the state. One of Representative Kline's goals has been to provide more Federal revenue for special education and that is something that would be welcomed by Minnesota's school districts and charter schools.
Ed Week Link: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/01/16/battle-lines-drawn-on-annual-testing-in.html