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What is happening at the Capitol
Governor Mark Dayton revealed his $21 million
safe schools proposal on Wednesday which addresses both school building enhancements and mental health. Each district would receive $18 per pupil in one-time funding for school building safety enhancements. An addition $5 million in mental health grants would be available. Also included is a modest $5 million for school-based mental health services grants. It will probably be a competitive grant application with a limited number of districts able to participate.
Read more.School district revenue runs.
Governor's official press release.
An estimated 20% of school children have
dyslexia, which inhibits their ability to read. Last year's legislation funded a new dyslexia expert at the Minnesota Department of Education to assist teachers in identifying and educating children with dyslexia. This year,
HF3013/SF2455 would require teachers to receive training on successful dyslexia instructional strategies prior to renewing their teaching license.
With the use of technology in schools, so much personal student information is on or transferred through the internet. The
Student Privacy Act in
SF1961(Pratt) is intended to strictly prohibit the use of this data except for educational purposes. A version of this bill passed in the House and Senate last year but was didn't survive in the conference committee. This year's bill removed sections of concern that required training for teachers, reporting of contracts made between school districts and providers, and stringent language on the school district's responsibility of having direct control of the data. The authors of last year's and this year's bill believe that limiting the focus on regulating student data use by technology providers will get this bill over the finish line.
A pair of bills,
HF2777(Fenton)SF2748(Pratt) intends to prohibit people with certain criminal backgrounds from receiving a
license to teach in Minnesota and prevent inappropriate student-teacher relationships were heard in the education policy committee. The authors made it crystal clear that the vast majority of the 50,000 teachers in Minnesota are honorable professionals. However, they believe the board that issues teacher licenses can do more to prevent the very rare instances where licenses were granted to teachers who harmed students or the district. Rep. Loon's bill includes an unfunded mandate requiring new background checks on teachers every three years.
Studies show that students who experience removal, suspension or expulsion are much less likely to graduate. It is a fine balance to do everything possible to keep a disruptive student in the classroom while ensuring the rights of all the rest of the students to not have their learning disrupted. Strategies that prevent disruptions and create a positive school environment such as restorative justice and positive behavioral intervention and strategies (PBIS) are proving effective in creating the balance. Chair Eric Pratt's SF2920 was heard in committee on Tuesday. The bill encourages schools to use nonexclusionary disciplinary policies and practices before removing a student. It also goes into very prescriptive requirements around student dismissals, some of which schools already do and some that are new. Bill summary.
As always, check out Brad's Blog for more detailed information on what is happening at the Capitol.
If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Schools for Equity in Education
Director of Communications and Community Outreach