Newly elected Senator Paul Utke (R-Park Rapids) last week brought forward a bill that would require personal learning plans for students who are not reading proficiently by third grade.

Reaction to SF468 in the Senate E-12 Policy Committee was mixed, though there was heavy opposition by Education Minnesota who stated teachers are already doing this while being strapped for time with no extra compensation.

No one objects to the goal of having all students reading by third grade, but the Fiscal Note projects this will add 22,000 hours of work for teachers and other professionals.

The Fiscal Note estimates that each plan, “developed and updated as needed in consultation, to the extent practicable, with the student and the student’s parents by the classroom teachers and other qualified school professionals” will take only one hour per student not proficient in reading by third grade who does not already have an IEP. View the Fiscal Note

Schools and teachers are striving to have all students’ proficient and plan and execute the Read Well by Third Grade statute and include these plans in the World’s Best Workforce.

MREA would rather we have teachers working with students those 22,000 hours and not making another plan. MREA also believes the 22,000 hours is an underestimate of the time required. Teachers already communicate with parents through parent-teacher conferences in elementary grades.

This bill is unnecessarily redundant and could have a negative impact on teacher retention. The primary complaint from special education teachers is excessive paperwork.  This bill adds paperwork to elementary teachers, most likely in 3rd and 4th grade, but could add paperwork in additional grades as well.

The bill is the same as the one presented last year and not included in the final education package.

This new bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the Senate education policy bill.