Good luck to our children as they return to the classroom next week. The new school year begins with some major changes that will help students, parents and teachers ensure Minnesota continues to provide high quality education for our children.
Those changes include increased education funding, fewer mandated tests, and common sense targeted investment in early education programs.
For our communities here in House District 10B, funding was increased by an average of more than $450 per pupil during this current budget cycle. Unlike the red tape days of the past, the increased funding was provided with the flexibility that allows local school districts to direct those dollars where they are most needed. Per student increase by district are as follows:
Aitkin - $444 per student increase
Brainerd - $396 per student increase
Crosby - $414 per student increase
Hill City - $456 per student increase
McGregor - $525 per student increase
Rather than adding a 14th grade for all students beginning at age 4, we also made a $95 million investment in early learning initiatives that specifically target those pre-kindergarten children that do in fact need special assistance.
The funding goes where it is needed and will do the most good – as opposed to an approach which would have spread the dollars to thin and left those children that were truly in need of special attention drowning in a sea of students who were already well prepared to begin kindergarten.
The Legislature also implemented meaningful reforms including fewer time consuming mandated tests, which restored much needed student classroom learning time.
We also tackled a long-standing problem with the transferability and recognition of college credits within our higher education system to make sure credits students earn through the Postsecondary Enrollment Option in high school are transferable throughout the MnSCU system.
These changes will have a positive impact on the future of education in Minnesota. I will continue to insist that our education system remains focused on preparing our students to become successful members of society and rural students receive their fair share of state education funding.
To our children as they start another school year, work hard and have fun. For our adults, a special reminder that the schools buses are on the roads again and our children will be crossing streets on their way to school, so please let’s all make an extra effort to drive safely as we begin this new school year.