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News from Rep. Dave Baker 03-06-2015

Friday, March 6, 2015

Dear Friends,

It's been another eventful week in Saint Paul. Yesterday the House passed House File 2 (HF2), one of our top education bills for this session. The main goals of HF2 are:

  • To help schools keep their most effective teachers by asking schools to consider teacher effectiveness rather than just seniority when schools are in the unfortunate situation of having to make layoffs.
  • Address Minnesota's teacher shortage by making it easier for out-of-state teachers to come to Minnesota, and encourage other alternative pathways for teacher licensure.
  • Gives school districts flexibility to tap community experts to fill vacant teaching positions to maintain or expand academic opportunities for our students.

Minnesota students in all parts of the state deserve a world-class education. This bill is not a silver bullet, and won't be a magic solution to closing the achievement gap, but it will be a step toward helping to ensure that schools are keeping their most effective teachers. Over the past several weeks I've been meeting with teachers during my Friday teacher's lounge visits to hear their feedback.

I understand there are concerns about changing Minnesota's seniority laws, but most teachers agree that we need to put the needs of students first, and that using teacher effectiveness is a fair approach to staffing decisions. It's important to remember also that school districts can negotiate locally to include seniority as another factor in staffing decisions, so seniority is not being discarded entirely.

2015 Survey

Some of you may be soon receiving a copy of my 2015 legislative survey in the mail. I truly value your feedback and comments, and want as many people as possible to take my survey. You can take the survey online by clicking here. Please consider forwarding the survey link to your friends and neighbors in our district so I can hear from as many people as possible.

Ka Joog

Earlier this week I joined Ka Joog executive director Mohamed Farah in testifying in favor of my bill, HF967, to provide funding to Ka Joog through the cultural arts and heritage portion of Minnesota's Legacy Amendment funding. Ka Joog, which translates to "stay away" is a program based in Minneapolis that works to keep Somali youth away from drugs and terror recruitment efforts. They are working to expand their program to Willmar and other cities in Minnesota with significant Somali populations.

Ka Joog is a great organization, and I'm proud to support their efforts in helping our Somali-American friends and neighbors.

Stay in Touch

Your feedback and input are always welcome. Email me any time at rep.dave.baker@house.mn. Call my office at 651-296-6206. You can also follow my updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/repdavebaker or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DaveBakerMN.

Have a great weekend,

Dave

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