Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Full Day of Committees.  Tuesday started with the Education Innovation Policy Committee spending its time with two bills.  The first was HF 1107, a bill that clarifies how a joint powers board can apply for grants.  But that was just the appetizer.  The lion's share of the committee's time went to HF 140 (what is posted here is the delete-everything amendment that the author-Representative Sondra Erickson-has constructed with committee members).  The committee meeting actually spilled over its regular time slot and the committee re-convened at 5:00 PM to finish is work.  The bill's highlights are as follows:

Article 1 

  • The creation of an 11-member board that would be called the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board.  The board would be comprised of six teachers, 2 superintendents, 2 principals, and 1 member of the general public.
  • Report on teacher and administrator preparation and performance.
  • Approval of teacher preparation programs.

Article 2  

  • The creation of a tiered-licensure system that would clearly spell out the requirements for earning a teaching license in Minnesota for individuals in a variety of circumstances (teachers from other states, community experts, etc.).
  • Allowance for licensure by portfolio.
  • Changes in career and technical educator licensing
The bill does not directly increase the supply of teachers, but many of the proposed changes should clear the landscape for those seeking to become teachers and facilitate entry into the field from some non-traditional teaching candidates.

The bill was recommended to pass and re-referred to the Government Operations Committee, where all bills dealing with the creation or alteration of state boards have to go before they can be approved.  If recommended to pass there, it will go back to the Education Finance Committee where a determination will be made as to whether it should go on its own to the House floor or be folded into the omnibus education policy bill.

The House Education Finance Committee covered the subject of compensatory revenue, hearing from four districts about how they spend their compensatory revenue allotment.  The four districts included SEE members Anoka-Hennepin and Austin.  The other two districts were Minneapolis and St. Paul.  It was a very instructive session and legislators were clearly interested in the similarities and differences between district spending patterns.  One common thread was that the districts are using compensatory revenue to back-fill the revenue shortfall resulting from the lack of funding coming from the English Language funding formula and the costs of providing needed language services for non-English speaking students.  

The final committee of the day was the Senate E-12 Policy Committee.  The committee heard Senator Chamberlain's SF 453, a bill that would add a dyslexia specialist at the Minnesota Department of Education and require districts to report the number of students who continue to have trouble reading to a teacher past third grade.  The committee also heard SF 587, Senator Dahm's bill that would allow districts to renew a food services contract an additional three times, and SF 736, Senator Pratt's bill relating to character education.

No comments: