Achievement & AssessmentTeacher Shortages

Bills of Interest Moving Through Legislature

By April 3, 2016 No Comments

MREA, together with its members, has been working to address a series of education issues via several smaller requests during this short session.

Here’s a look at the key issues and their progress as the Legislature faces bill deadlines:

Concurrent Enrollment

The Higher Learning Commission announced last fall it would require concurrent enrollment teachers to have at least 18 graduate credits in their content area. In response to this mandate, Lakes Country Service Cooperative, Northwest Service Cooperative and Minnesota State University–Moorhead presented a legislative proposal (HF 3326/SF 3062) to cover the cost of heavily discounted graduate credits for teachers taking a 12-month online cohort of classes through MSUM.

The bill was positively received in the House Education Finance committee last weekend. It’s scheduled for a hearing in the Senate E-12 Budget Division on Tuesday, thanks to Rep. Bud Nornes (R-Fergus Falls) and Sen. Kent Eken (D-Twin Valley).

The MnSCU Chancellor’s office released information on its efforts to continue Concurrent Enrollment in the face of the HLC clarification of credentialing requirements for high school teachers. They are encouraging all MnSCU colleges and universities to continue to work with high schools to take the steps necessary to meet the concurrent enrollment instructor credentialing standards. View the MnSCU Update. Learn more.

Shortages & Technical Education

Rural workforce shortages and the need for more technical education is a constant conversation at the state Capitol. Pine to Prairie and Lakes Country Service Cooperative are pushing a bill (HF 2983/SF 2266) with Rep. Deb Kiel (R-Crookston) and Sen. LeRoy Stumpf (D-Plummer) to provide funding for mobile labs that would rotate from one school district to the next. The costs of these labs can be prohibitive for smaller schools. The bill was heard in the House Education Finance committee last week.

Mental Health

Rural communities are no different than the metro area in the need for many mental health services for many children. Staff and administrators at Intermediate school districts, Education Districts and Special Education Cooperatives which operate level 4 and higher programs are seeking targeted staff development resources to help train and retain staff who are working with students in great need of attention.

The stories are heart wrenching and our thoughts go out to the staff, kids and families in these situations.

HF 2937 and SF 2392, authored by Rep. Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie) and Sen. Greg Clausen (D-Apple Valley), are moving through the process and would provide help statewide.

Two other bills would provide additional funding for mental health services:

The first bill, HF 2731/SF 3294, would add several million dollars each year to School Linked Mental Health grants that assist school districts across the state in paying for professional services not readily available in school settings. It is authored by Rep. Jim Davnie (D-Minneapolis) and Sen. Melissa Wiklund (D-Bloomington).

The second, HF 2661/SF 2305, would fund a rural Children’s Mental Health collaborative focused on transition services for young adults. It is authored by Rep. Dave Baker (R-Willmar) and Sen. Lyle Koenen (D-Clara City).

See what to expect in the next three weeks.