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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dave Baker (R)

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News from Dave

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Dear Friends,

Its hard to believe that the first month of the 2019 legislative session has come to a close. Committees have gotten into full swing as we spend a great deal of time in hearings to discuss legislation and take testimony from the public and other stakeholders about how proposed legislation impacts them.

This week, lets talk about Education

I have been preparing some new education bills that will be introduced soon.

For the past four years I have seen firsthand the amazing work and dedication our teachers and education professionals pour into helping prepare kids for the future. It is often a thankless job that requires long hours and stress, but I want them to know that they are appreciated and respected.

This session, I am working to introduce legislation that would help cover costs for teachers to go back to college and get their masters degrees or, if they choose, an administrative degree if they want to pursue becoming a principal. I call my proposal teaching our teachers.

The state of Minnesota gives our state colleges millions of dollars each year to, among other things, keep tuition rates low and keep our buildings and grounds maintained.  For that, I am asking that some of these investments go towards letting public educators go back to school and learn for free.

Teachers that get their masters degrees are able to earn more, thus incentivizing more folks to become teachers and to stay in the profession. It also helps equip our teachers with tools to become more effective educators; helping produce better outcomes for students. I believe that local community colleges and other state run colleges would be able to absorb many of the costs associated with providing this benefit to teachers.

Second, I am looking into legislation that would help reduce the amount of paperwork that special education teachers are currently required to deal with. These teachers should be spending more time with their students and less time filling out paperwork.

Finally, I am supportive of legislation that Rep. Dean Urdahl is authoring that would require students to take a course in government and citizenship before graduating from high school. Sadly, civics courses have been de-emphasized in recent years, leaving too many students with little to no knowledge regarding how our government works. This civics gap is worrying and this bill would help to ensure our students have a better understanding of our government for when they engage as citizens of voting age.

As always, I'll continue to have more updates as session progresses. In the meantime, please be sure to reach out to me and share any thoughts, concerns, or questions you may have. I can be reached at rep.dave.baker@house.mn or you can call 651-296-6206. 

Have a good weekend,

Dave

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