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ST. PAUL – Today the 2010 Omnibus K-12 Budget bill (HF 3833) passed the Minnesota House of Representatives (86 to 47), protecting our schools from budget cuts and advancing education policies to secure future prospects for Minnesota’s children.
"The House is providing a balanced approach to support the educational needs of Minnesota students by preserving state funding levels at current levels without any cuts," said State Representative Carlos Mariani, Chair of the K-12 Education Policy and Oversight Committee. "Proposed K-12 policies will create a gateway to a future of educated learners and leaders in Minnesota by ensuring every child in Minnesota has access to an excellent education."
Three major policy provisions in the initial Omnibus K-12 Budget bill included:
• The alternative teacher licensure provision (HF 3093) directs the Board of Teaching to approve teacher preparation programs to allow qualified candidates to acquire a two-year limited-term license and to prepare for a standard entrance license. Currently Teach for America (TFA) is a nonprofit organization partnering with Hamline University on a teacher training and development program to reach out to recent college graduates from all backgrounds and career interests to commit to teach for two years in low-income communities. This provision was opposed by Education Minnesota and is no longer in the bill, though it may be revisited in conference committee.
• A provision to transform our state high school assessment and accountability system to focus state graduation requirements on preparing students for college or a career. Minnesota’s best educators and experts created a task force to design a better approach to verify high school student achievement that involved stop relying on a single test to demonstrate their knowledge and use end of course tests that will account for 20% of the course grade. Due to fiscal constraints, we will only use this approach on algebra testing.
• In response to the Race to the Top challenge, Minnesota will establish an annual evaluation of teachers and principals. Highly collaborative work between the State Legislature and Education Minnesota has resulted in a framework to evaluate public school administrators and teachers using multiple measures, including student growth or standardized tests.
“We need financial stability as well as innovative policies in our schools to establish modernized educational systems statewide that will reflect global realities,” said State Representative Carlos Mariani. “This bill will deliver on its priorities to have world-class students and nation-leading schools led by highly-trained teachers and principals."