Thursday, February 02, 2017

Sweet Thursday.  I bet you don't remember that rock band from the late-1960s led by the late keyboardist extraordinaire Nicky Hopkins (It's important to remember all this rock and roll trivia.  You may be on Jeopardy someday.).  Anyway, three hearings today starting with the House Education Innovation Policy Committee, which spent its time listening to presentations from a number of career and technical programs.  One of the barriers to providing career and technical programs is the inability to find licensed instructors.  Here is a link to the report of the Career and Technical Educator Licensing Task Force:

Career and Technical Educator Licensure Task Force Report

The House Education Finance Committee devoted its time slot to continuing its review of the Governor's budget proposal with special attention given to special education funding.  The committee spent Wednesday's hearing listening to perspectives on special education funding and policy and it took the next step today in dissecting Minnesota's special education funding formula.  Minnesota's special education funding formula is fairly complex due to the fact it's a combination of the "old" cost-reimbursement formula and the "new" pupil-weighting formula.

The Senate Education Policy Committee split its time between Representative Paul Utke's SF 468, a bill that requires a personal learning plan for students who are not reading at grade level by 3rd grade.  Reaction to the bill is a bit mixed.  No one objects to the goal of having all students reading at grade level by third grade and the bill's language mirrors the compromise that was struck between the legislators and the school community last spring.  This provision was not contained in the final bill last year so it is being run up the flag pole again.  This was the bill's initial hearing and Chair Eric Pratt promised that there will be ample opportunity for all viewpoints to be heard before the bill moves forward.

SF 468

The committee then turned to the report of the Student Discipline Working Group.  Convened over the summer, the group tussled with a number of difficult issues.  For those who were hoping for earth-shattering recommendations, there aren't any here, but that doesn't mean that the work isn't impressive.  There is a call for more support staff (social workers, psychologists, counselors, and nurses) and continued work on the concept of "willful" when determining student behavior that merits suspension.

Here is a link to the working group report.

Student Discipline Working Group Report





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