A bi-partisan group of Minnesota Senators presented a series of legislative measures at a Capitol press conference aimed at improving special education. The bills are intended, in part, to decrease paperwork by aligning Minnesota’s record-keeping standards to match federal requirements. View the Press Conference
Sen. Eric Pratt (GOP-Prior Lake), who convened several policy discussions on special education last fall, said that nearly 50 percent of a special education teacher’s time is spent on paperwork, a leading contributor to their burnout.
“The process has become so complex, that we’re taking away valuable time, teacher time, from that student,”Pratt said.
Sen. Greg Clausen (DFL-Apple Valley), as a former school administrator, shared two stories of gifted special education teachers who left the field due to the frustrations and demands of excessive paperwork. When asked about the bipartisan nature of this proposed legislation, Senator Clausen responded, “Education should not be partisan.”
These bills are based in part on the work of MREA member district New Ulm’s analysis and recommendations. Jeff Bertrang, New Ulm Superintendent, said the goal is to increase the impact teachers have with students by reducing their paperwork and time they spend typing on their computers. New Ulm estimates these reforms could save 500-900 hours per SPED teacher annually thereby significantly increasing the time teachers can spend teaching students.