Minnesota’s goal to provide a world-class education to all students in a safe, nurturing environment, while recognizing and incorporating diversity in curriculum and hiring more teachers of color, are some important elements of the 2022 House omnibus education policy bill, supporters say.
It would modify academic standards requirements, include compulsory instruction in ethnic studies, prioritize alternative student discipline provisions, institute new policies to empower American Indian students, and amend the student bullying statute requiring school boards to address malicious and sadistic conduct.
The House Education Policy Committee received a walkthrough of the delete-all amendment to HF3401 Wednesday and took testimony. Rep. Ruth Richardson (DFL-Mendota Heights), the committee chair and bill sponsor, said members would further discuss the bill Friday.
“The proposals in this bill focus on centering the whole child in all that we do, and builds Minnesota’s world-class education to a safe and welcoming environment with caring and qualified teachers so that students as unique individuals are seen, valued and heard as they come into our school buildings every day,” said Education Commissioner Heather Mueller.
She highlighted the prohibition of dismissals for young students, and other non-exclusionary disciplinary policies, as a step in the right direction and said missing instruction is detrimental to learning and students’ subsequent achievement.
“We know students need to be in a classroom to succeed academically,” Mueller said.
She also supports the plan to hire more teachers of colors to better reflect the Minnesota communities and enrich the education Minnesota kids receive, adding that the bill’s inclusion of ethnic studies standards complements that.
The ethnic studies requirement was opposed in written testimony by the Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators and Home School Legal Defense Association. Both organizations argue the requirement infringes on the rights of parents, who have agreed to meet the basic requirements listed in the compulsory school attendance statue, to provide the best education to their children as they see fit.
Matt Shaver, policy director for EdAllies, praised the bill’s provision to address teacher shortages and prioritize grants for efforts to induct, mentor, and retain teachers color and those of American Indian heritage. He also favors the elimination of limits, or the “gag rule” on information posted by high schools about the postsecondary institutions, their course offerings and credit equivalency. Students will greatly benefit from the change, he said.
And he liked the bill’s proposal to prohibit non-exclusionary discipline practices and to give a written notification to the parents of students facing suspension.
Other notable provisions in the bill would:
The following are selected bill have been incorporated in part or in whole into the omnibus education policy bill.