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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe McDonald (R)

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Back-to-school letter from Rep. Joe McDonald

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

To the editor,

 

Good luck to all the students who are striving for success this school year and best wishes to the teachers who are helping our children achieve.

 

A historic funding investment in education from pre-Kindergarten through high school is just one of the big changes taking place as the new school year gets underway in Minnesota.

 

The funding increase amounts to, on average, approximately $418 per student this biennium in House District 29A. This is a huge increase. This additional money will provide local districts with flexibility in making local decisions, allowing them to put it where they see the greatest need.

 

Many educational reforms also are in place. They include fewer mandated tests to increase classroom learning time, as well as improving access to quality educators by streamlining out-of-state teacher licensure reciprocity. The latter is especially important in Greater Minnesota, where districts sometimes have difficulty in filling positions.

 

Another change helps prospective teachers by ensuring College in the Classroom students who earn Postsecondary Enrollment Option credits can transfer those credits throughout the MnSCU system.

 

Early education also was a big subject at the Legislature this year and a $95 million investment in early learning initiatives was provided. It includes scholarships and school readiness aid targeted to areas it is needed most. This is in contrast to universal pre-K proposal that would have also sent money to those of lesser need, reducing the effectiveness of our tax dollars.

 

As a parents of three children, Rachel and I cannot overstate how important it is to know we trust our local teachers. Their job,s public or parochial, are among the most important in making our families and society better.

 

Sincerely,

Rep. Joe McDonald

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