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ST. PAUL - Saint Paul's students and parents will have a stronger voice when the Legislature reconvenes this January. Minnesota House Speaker-designate Margaret Anderson Kelliher recently named State Representative Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul) to chair the House E-12 Education Policy Committee. The committee is responsible for hearing bills that make policy changes for Minnesota schools.
As the first Latino to chair a committee in the Legislature, Mariani says he wants the panel to gather advice from a wide-range of communities.
"Minnesota is a more diverse place than it was even 20 years ago," Mariani said. "It's crucial that we hear about everyone's different concerns and needs."
As his top priority, Mariani would like to see the committee focus on closing achievement gaps that exist in Minnesota's schools.
"We should ensure that every Minnesota student, whatever their economic or ethnic background is, has the tools they need to achieve their fullest potential. That is a goal we should be reinforcing from early childhood all the way up to graduation."
Mariani went on to stress that he also wants the committee to examine policy changes that are both fair to Minnesota students and expect high performance.
"We need to evaluate our state's actions on No Child Left Behind and testing," Mariani added. "At the same time, we should have rigorous standards that prepare Minnesota students for our increasingly global and technology-based economy."
Mariani will officially take the committee's reigns on January 3rd.