Weekly Advocate empower,educate,engage
Week Four - January 25, 2021
Governor Walz shared today what is being called a "sweeping plan" to address the immediate impact of the pandemic on education AND build a world-class education system for all students. The plan called Due North, prioritizes seven areas:
  • Meet the Needs of Students During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Every Student Receives a World-Class Education
  • Every Student Learns in a Safe and Nurturing Environment
  • Every Student Learns in a Classroom with Caring and Qualified Teachers
  • Expand Access to Opportunities for Students of Color and Indigenous Students
  • Expand Access to Opportunities for Students in Greater Minnesota
  • Fund a 21st Century Education

Governor Walz will introduce his budget bill, including education priorities, this week. It is highly anticipated the bill will concentrate on COVID relief and racial justice issues. This theme has been echoed by both the House Education Finance and Policy Committees.

The House Education Policy Committee heard HF 4 last week. As one of the House's top priorities, the bill centers around K-12 COVID relief actions such as adjusting pupil units to the greater of FY20 or FY21 and allowing for extended time flexibility, two key elements of MSBA's 2021 Legislative Agenda. The bill will be heard in House Education Finance Committee this Thursday. MSBA welcomes your data and/or stories on how your school district pupil counts have been impacted by the coronavirus. The impact COVID has had on your district is critical for legislators to be made aware of and understand.

The Senate Education Finance and Policy Committee heard testimony on innovations, both existing and desired. Mahtomedi Board Chair and MSBA Director, Dr. Lucy Payne testified on one idea of redefining seat time hours. The ability for school districts to redesign how school looks is another agenda priority. Providing school boards the authority to promote individualized learning by eliminating barriers and expanding Innovation Zones, providing expanded learning time and opportunities, and redesigning assessments to complement individualized learning, will help meet students where they are at and narrow the achievement gap.