It's Session Eve. Unlike Christmas Eve, we won't be opening any presents tonight, but we hope that there will be gifts to education sometime in the next couple of months. Like every organization, SEE has its list and the Legislature will be checking it twice. Hey, we haven't been naughty, so hopefully some good things will happen in the next couple of months.
We just started our set of regional meetings today in Owatonna and will be continuing them throughout the month, working around spring breaks and legislative activity. Check the SEE website for the regional meeting dates. If you can't make the meeting in your area, feel free to attend at a different site if it works better for you. Deb Griffiths has also sent out the SEE Days on the Hill schedule and we'd like to have as much participation as possible on these days. The legislative session will be proceeding at a hectic pace and getting our case out to key legislative leaders will be crucial to any chance for success. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in each of these venues in the coming months.
Interesting MPR Story. Minnesota Public Radio will be doing an interesting series this week on closing the achievement gap and raising the graduation rate. Today's story zeroed in on Minnesota's relatively low level of expenditure on student support service personnel when compared with the rest of the nation. One proposal that is rumored to be receiving attention is Senator Susan Kent's bill from last year (that was part of the Senate's omnibus education funding bill at a reduced amount from the original bill) that would create a grant program to help school districts hire school social workers, school psychologists, guidance counselors, school nurses, and chemical dependency counselors. Because this approach spends one-time money and the Legislature's desire to hold down budget tails into the next biennium, it has a solid chance to receive serious consideration this session.
Legislative Auditor's Report on Teacher Licensure. The Office of the Legislative Auditor released its study on Minnesota's teacher licensure last Friday. The report is critical of several elements of the current system, especially the overlap between the Minnesota Department of Education and the Minnesota Board of teaching and the confusion created by this overlap. Given Minnesota's teacher shortage across a broad range of subjects, cleaning up the licensure system is of paramount importance. Below is a link to the Legislative Auditor's report.
Legislative Auditor's Report on Minnesota Teacher Licensure