With Minnesota’s short summer, there’s a continual debate over school start dates — school officials want local control over school calendars, while resort owners and the agricultural sector say starting school before Labor Day would impact their businesses.
Rep. Connie Doepke (R-Orono) hopes her bill, HF2325, is a compromise.
The Flexible Learning Year bill would allow school districts to begin school before Labor Day, but would prohibit school from being held on the Thursday and Friday before Labor Day.
“It is all about giving locally elected school boards the ability to adopt a school calendar that best meets the needs of their community, while recognizing the need for an extended holiday at the end of the summer,” Doepke told the House Education Reform Committee Feb. 28. The committee approved the bill and moved it to the House floor.
Two unlikely allies have joined in their support of the bill — Education Minnesota, which represents most of the state’s teachers, and the Minnesota Business Partnership.
However, resort owners have been successful in keeping Minnesota as one of five states that don’t start before Labor Day.
“We’ve been at this issue for a long, long time. We’ve tried compromise; we’ve been through four governors, four presidents and here we go again,” said Joel Carlson, who represents the Congress of Minnesota Resort Owners.
He said the argument that pre-Labor Day starts improve school performance and test scores has not be proven.
Among DFLers supporting the bill is Rep. Kim Norton (DFL-Rochester), who sponsored a similar measure in the past. “I’m a little surprised that you don’t think that the summer gap can make a difference. I think there is plenty of data that it can impact student scores. I hope we continue to do what is best for the students.”
Rep. Mark Murdock (R-Ottertail) lives and owns a business in “Lake Country.” He can’t support the bill, he said, because of how it would negatively impact the Main Street businesses in his area.
The companion, SF1892, sponsored by Sen. David Hann (R-Eden Prairie), awaits action by the Senate Education Committee.
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