A proposed pilot program would allow districts to pool resources, with increased student achievement in mind.
Rep. Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton) and Sen. Al DeKruif (R-Madison Lake) sponsor HF755/ SF946*, which would establish a five-year pilot project managed by the Education Department. Groups of schools would apply for the program, with three to six selected to participate. The department would then monitor the project for successful results and recommend whether it should be continued.
The House Education Finance Committee laid the bill over Feb. 23 for possible improvements. It was passed 36-25 by the full Senate last year.
Erickson explained that this bill would give teachers an opportunity to try innovative ideas in the classroom.
“It is an opportunity to allow school districts to absolutely raise achievement and improve learning,” she said.
Rep. Tom Anzelc (DFL-Balsam Township) said the bill is redundant, citing current statute that already allows for cross-school collaboration. He claimed that some districts, especially in Greater Minnesota, are already innovating on a cooperative level.
“I think they’d say, you know, we pretty much can do this now. … I hope we don’t throw up any barriers,” Anzelc said.
Erickson maintained the need for this bill, saying that previous education legislation is too restrictive and has produced a chilling effect in schools.
“(Educators) have signaled to me that, because we are such controllers of what they do, we need to give them a professional directive that they can,” Erickson said.
Kevin McHenry, government relations director for the department, said smaller districts would have a difficult time meeting the application deadline. McHenry said that larger districts have more resources, which gives them an advantage in applying for the program. Erickson refuted this claim.
Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul) praised the bill, saying it addresses issues that face schools throughout Minnesota in a measurable way.
“It’s clearly a strong message from us, encouraging relationships and expanding opportunities in our state,” Mariani said.
Waiting for the governor’s final grade
Omnibus education bill nears finish line
(view full story) Published 4/27/2012
Last in, first out … out or in?
Conference committee weighs benefits of changing teacher layoff practices
(view full story) Published 3/30/2012
Education advocate is moving on
Rep. Mindy Greiling announces she won’t seek re-election
(view full story) Published 2/3/2012
Withholding state funds from schools
Education finance law keeps $780 million for other General Fund spending
(view full story) Published 8/11/2011
First try at K-12 finance bill fails
Dayton says special education cuts ‘would create significant funding gaps’
(view full story) Published 7/15/2011
‘Bold and beautiful’ or full of inequities?
Confusion exists whether K-12 bill increases or cuts funding
(view full story) Published 5/20/2011
Minnesota Index: Teaching and learning
Facts and statistics about education in Minnesota
(view full story) Published 5/20/2011
Lands set apart
Permanent School Fund management, income potential explored
(view full story) Published 5/13/2011
‘Social promotion’ to promote literacy
Third-graders could repeat if they can’t read
(view full story) Published 4/29/2011
Historic St. Paul walkout
Illegal action changed teacher bargaining; a new debate rises over right to strike
(view full story) Published 4/15/2011
Changes in education
House approves omnibus education finance bill
(view full story) Published 4/1/2011
Education finance bill offers bold reforms
Quantity not as key as quality, says DFL
(view full story) Published 3/25/2011
A voucher by any other name
Bill would create limited scholarships for low-income students
(view full story) Published 3/18/2011
Fewer days, longer hours
Some districts find four-day school week works as a budget fix
(view full story) Published 2/18/2011
First Reading: ‘Pitting the good against the good’
Proposed lift of safe schools mandate is a tough call
(view full story) Published 2/4/2011
The goal: 25,000 new teachers
Bush Foundation commits big bucks to revamp teacher training
(view full story) Published 1/28/2011
First Reading: Alternative teacher mindset
Tackling the achievement gap one classroom at a time
(view full story) Published 1/21/2011