Legislators constantly have issues brought to them to assess and address. In many cases, that leads to passing new laws to effect positive change.

In that process, an important question to also consider is: What is the cost in dollars, staff time and student instruction to implement the new law? The state has a system to aid in that discovery: Local Impact Fiscal Note. Still, in the midst of the flurry of activity, that step can be missed.

That was the case Thursday as Chair Erickson’s HF 3315DE1  passed with four more amendments out of the House Innovation Policy Committee. All policies included have now cleared a major hurdle on the way to becoming law on July 1.

MREA provides a look at the series of potential mandates that have been proposed for Minnesota schools. It is important for MREA members to review the new mandates in 17 different areas of school operations and instruction—often with multiple mandates in each area.

Let your legislators know impact they would have in your schools. It helps to reference HF3315 as well as the specific article and section number when you do so. Find your legislator.

Article 2: Education Excellence

Section 2: Education records
Requires a school transmitting a transferring student’s educational records to a new school to include information about a pupil withdrawal and services a pupil needs to prevent inappropriate behavior from recurring

Section 3: Legitimate exemptions
Allows a student to be excused from school for up to three days to participate in any activity necessary to join a branch of the United States armed forces.

Section 4: Required Health academic standards
Requires school districts to include substance misuse prevention instruction in a health curriculum in grades 5, 6, 8, 10, and 12. Requires school districts to include sexual exploitation prevention instruction in a health curriculum. A school district may consult with other government and community-based organizations to identify relevant tools, curricula, and programs. By amendment, heath curriculums must also include instruction on ‘consent’ to reduce sexual assault.

Section 6: World’s Best Workforce; performance measures
Amends performance measures by basing the academic achievement gap on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA), specifies that student performance is based on the reading and math MCAs, and measures college and career readiness by student performance on the high school MCAs in reading and math. Adds performance measures from state plan to World’s Best Workforce performance measures.

Section 7: World’s Best Workforce; adopting plans and budgets
Adds statewide goals in reference to benchmarks required in district plan.

Section 10: Dyslexia Screening
Requires a school district to screen all students for dyslexia between the beginning of kindergarten and the beginning of second grade, as well as any student who exhibits characteristics associated with dyslexia from second grade on.

Section 12: Secondary students’ personal learning plans
Amends the secondary student personal learning plan statute to:

  • Require that plans help students access armed forces career options;
  • Require school districts to grant military recruiters (this provision duplicated Federal law) and representatives of careers in skilled trades the same access to students that they grant to colleges and employers; and
  • Rncourage school districts to sponsor an Armed Forces Career Opportunity Day each fall.

Section 14: Statewide testing
Requires the commissioner of education to administer the MCAs as late as possible each school year.

Section 16: Reporting
Requires school district to disseminate preliminary individual student performance data and achievement report to parent and teacher of student within 30 days of test and requires school district to disseminate testing report to teacher and parent with achievement level and performance history before beginning of next school year. (Note: The result will be mailing test results twice to parents).

Sections 21-29: Non-exclusionary disciplinary policies and practices; alternatives to pupil dismissal
Defines term as policies and practices that require school officials to intervene in, redirect, and support a pupil’s behavior before dismissal, and provides examples of these policies and practices, requires parental notifications and district policies.

11th and 12th Grade Civics Course Required.  By amendment high schools are to add a required civics class for credit within the 3.5 credits for social studies beginning in the 20-21 school year.

Patriotic Organizations access to students during the school day. By amendment school boards are encouraged to allow patriotic organizations intended to serve youth under the age of 21 as identified in United 1.7 States Code, title 36, subtitle II, part B, up to 30 minutes to address students on Federal Holidays listed in MN Statute 120A.42.  This is in addition to the one hour reserved for patriotic observance on those same holidays.

Article 3: Teachers

Section 1: School counselors
Amends the school counselor statute to require school counselors to present and explain armed forces career options and benefits to students and inform parents and students of the military enlistment exam. Allows counselors to consult with the Department of Labor and Industry on resources for students interested in careers in the skilled trades. Prohibits a counselor from interfering with a student’s enlistment in the armed forces.

Article 5: Facilities and Technology

Section 2: Technology providers
Imposes new requirements on technology providers and on schools that contract with technology providers.

Section 4: School-issued devices
Gives students privacy rights in school-issued devices

(NotE: These are a long and complicated set of mandates regarding providers of software, online systems and 1:1 devices which your tech staff need to dig into to understand the implications in your district for compliance).

Article 6: Nutrition

Section 2: Respectful school meals policy
Clarifies that a school district may collect unpaid meal debt as long as reminders do not demean or stigmatize a child participating in the school lunch program and meet other requirements. Prohibits school district from denying a school lunch to participating students, even if they have an outstanding meals balance. Requires district to provide meals to participating students in a respectful manner and prohibits withdrawing meal from student after it has been served, whether or not the student has an outstanding meal balance.

By Amendment, Schools are furthermore prohibited from limiting students participation in any school activities, graduation ceremonies, field trips, athletics, activity clubs, or other extracurricular activities; access to materials, technology, or other items provided to other students; or any other restriction prohibited under section 123B.37 due to unpaid student meal balances or any other unpaid fee and schools cannot discipline a student due to an unpaid student meal balance.

Thanks to House non-partisan staff Christina Parra and Tim Strom for the descriptions of these policies