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Student transition plan OK’d

Published (2/18/2010)
By Kris Berggren
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College- and career-readiness is a topic frequently discussed by educators, business people and lawmakers interested in how well the state is preparing students for life after high school. With the support of the Governor’s Workforce Development Council, Rep. Sandra Peterson (DFL-New Hope) sponsors HF2705 that would require school districts to implement programs to help every high school student make a transition plan for postsecondary education or employment.

Bryan Lindsley, executive director of the council, told the House K-12 Education Policy and Oversight Committee Feb. 17 that the council’s education action committee, which includes Education Commissioner Alice Seagren, approved the recommendation to establish such a plan in 2008.

“This recommendation is to give students the opportunity to really explore the amazing world that is before them and to think about opportunities and their future,” Lindsley said. “It is not involuntary career tracking.”

Some lawmakers expressed reluctance to mandate a new program for schools.

“Who can argue with the idea of helping kids plan their aspirations and align that to what they’re doing in high school?” said Rep. Keith Downey (R-Edina). “But I think we have to ask ourselves really hard questions here in the Legislature. Every time there is a good idea do we as a Legislature have to mandate it?”

Rep. Jerry Newton (DFL-Coon Rapids) opposes imposing an unfunded mandate because he believes it would be a drain on scarce school resources. “Our counselors are already overworked,” Newton said, noting the Anoka-Hennepin School District has one counselor per 650 students.

The bill was approved and now goes to the House K-12 Education Finance Division.

A companion, SF2446, sponsored by Sen. Ann Rest (DFL-New Hope), awaits action by the Senate E-12 Education Budget and Policy Division.

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