Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Happenin' Thursday.  A full slate of committee meetings today with the House Education Innovation Committee having the most interesting draw as they discussed several bills authored by Representative Eric Lucero concerning student privacy.  With the increasing use of technology and almost every student coming to school with a digital device, concerns about how these devices are protected from unwarranted entry have arisen.  There are also concerns that data that school districts collect, including the student survey administered every three years, inappropriately pries into the lives of students and their families and risks undue exposure of information many deem should remain personal.  All four of Representative Lucero's bills were laid over for possible inclusion in the House omnibus education policy bill.

Here are the links to the four bills discussed today:

HF 2671
HF 2898
HF 2899
HF 2900

The House Education Finance Committee dealt with reports from four organizations:  The Early Learning Scholarship Reprot, Parent Aware, the Sanneh Foundation, and the Career and College Program Incentives.

The Senate heard Senator Susan Kent's Student Support Personnel Act (SF 1364), a grant program that aims to increase the number of school social workers, school psychologists, school nurses, chemical dependency counselors, and guidance counselors throughout the state.  The Senate then moved to its policy committee, where it covered five bills, one of which was the MDE Policy Bill.  There is nothing of controversy in the MDE policy bill, which deals primarily with technical changes.  There will be pushback on some of the policies that will accompany the Governor's education budget bill that will likely hit the committee within the next couple of weeks.

Another SEE Bill is Introduced.  The minimum aid guarantee bill that distributes revenue to districts with low levels of general education revenue has now been introduced in both the House and Senate.  The House author is Representative Eric Lucero and the Senate author is Senator Mary Kiffmeyer.  I am still working up the latest cost estimates for the bill.  Previous data runs have come in at around $22 million in statewide costs, but I have yet to run the analysis with the latest data.  Hopefully, the bill will be heard this year even with questions about what the supplemental budget targets will be.

Here is a link to SF 2899/HF 3234:  Minimum Aid Guarantee Bill

Interesting Counterpoint Article.  Below is a link to an article in the latest issue of The Washington Monthly.  The Washington Monthly is a centrist (though clearly Democratic) magazine that covers policy and politics. The article, by Georgetown-based education writer Thomas Toch, bemoans the repeal of many aspects of President Obama's Race to the Top and elements of President Bush's No Child Left Behind initiative.  Agree with it or not, it makes for a good read.

How Obama Got Schooled by Thomas Toch

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