Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Busy Wednesday.  It was the Senate that ran long today.  With the policy committee deadline looming, there is a lot of work to be done and the Senate Education Policy Committee tackled a couple of big bills today.  The day led off with discussion of the Governor's omnibus education policy bill.  Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and MDE Legislative Coordinator Steve Huser presented the bill section-by-section.  This bill is largely technical in nature, seeking to clear up and streamline a lot of provisions that have been enacted over the years.  The big noise will come when the Governor's budget bill is released shortly.

Link:  SF 1495--Governor's Policy Bill

The committee tackled a couple of other bills this morning, but two interesting bills were left for the evening.  SF 979 is Senator Mary Kiffmeyer's bill that would require prior written consent from parents before a student survey could be given to a student.  There was testimony on both sides of the bill from those who believe the student survey is a valuable tool that provides information that is helpful to school districts and state agencies as they fashion policies to meet the social needs of today's high school students.  The data is private and is only available in aggregate form, so concerns that the responses of individual students become public is unfounded.  Still, given the legitimate concerns over the use of public data, there is growing skepticism surrounding the collection of survey data regardless of how general it might be.

Link:  SF 979--Student Survey Bill

Rounding out the evening, the committee addressed SF 589, Senator Greg Clausen's bill on alternative teacher licensure and granting licenses to teaching candidates who have acquired licenses in other states.  Headway is being made on this bill as all parties directly involved in the debate appear reasonably satisfied with the compromise Senator Clausen has fashioned.  I don't have a copy of the amendment that was attached to the bill tonight to link here and one probably won't be available in an electronic copy until the committee finishes its work on its omnibus policy package.  Rest assured, it's all-around good work by Senator Clausen, whose experience as a school administrator is proving invaluable as policy is developed.

Tuesday Introductions.


HF 1676--Kelly--Establishes youth development educational partnership fund--

HF 1689--E. Murphy--Requires sexual assault and sexual harassment policies to contain an affirmative consent standard--

HF 1692--Atkins--Allows charter school students to participate in extracurricular in their resident district--

HF 1712--Quam--Authorizes commissioner of education to help coordinate crisis response teams--

Wednesday Introductions.


SF 1585--Metzen--Allows charter school students to participate in extracurricular in their resident district--

SF 1632--Pratt--Allows school districts to transfer revenue between funds--

SF 1635--Rest--Modifies special education payment schedule for certain charter schools--

SF 1642--Tomassoni--Appropriates money to cooperative unit to provide staff development--


HF 1740--Kelly--Exempts certain property used to provide services to school district personnel through taxation--

HF 1762--Erickson--Creates a financial incentive for districts that enhance proficiency for English language learners--

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