Tiered Licensure changes, comprehensive sex education, SPED paperwork and Dyslexia related bills are among the key issues before the Minnesota House Education Policy Committee, which has until March 15 to pass bills. Here’s a look at the key policies in recent play:
- Tiered Licensure
- Dyslexia Screening & Teacher Training
- Vocational Courses
- Sexual Health Education
- New High School Course Requirements
- Special Education Paperwork
Read more about each below.
Key policies to be heard this week in House Education Policy Committee:
The Committee on Monday will debate legislation proposing changes to important provisions of the Tiered Licensure system. Key provisions of HF 1329 (Kunish-Podein) include:
- Limit a Tier 1 license to one renewal even for CTE teachers or in shortage areas;
- Eliminate a master’s degree in the content area as reason to be granted a Tier 2 license;
- Remove three years of experience without being placed on discipline as a condition to move from Tier 2 to 3 and remove the existence of discipline to prevent one from moving from Tier 3 to 4.
- Prohibit an administrator from assigning a student to Tier 1 or Tier 2 licensed teacher in sequential years, unless no other teacher is available in that grade or course.
MREA would prefer that the Legislature leave the Tiered License system alone, which just had regulations approved last fall, to let it work and see what issues emerge for future changes. MREA opposes the four changes listed above and wrote a letter to Chief Author Rep. Kunish-Podein and Chair Youakim.
Dyslexia Screening & Teacher Training
The committee on Tuesday will hear series of bills on Dyslexia screening and teacher training.
- HF 1412/SF 651 (Daniels/Chamberlain) requires districts to screen students not reading at grade level for dyslexia. HF 1496 (Edelson) is a more expansive screening bill.
- HF 329/SF 2027 (Daniels/Clausen) provides direction to the MDE Dyslexia specialist to provide guidance to districts on screening and to PELSB on re-licensure requirements. The Senate E-12 Committee held a hearing on a number of Dyslexia related bills in February. Expect policies regarding dyslexia to be in a final bill at the end of session.
The Committee on Wednesday will focus on a series of bills relating to vocational courses and the use of extended time funding for courses outside the school day—a position MREA supports in our platform.
- HF692 (Poppe) – Pupils enrolled in career and technical education courses extended time use expanded.
- HF73 (Gunther) – Pupils enrolled in career and technical education courses extended time use expanded.
- HF246 (Bennett) – Vocational enrichment program established, and money appropriated.
Key policies heard this past week in House Education Policy Committee:
Sexual Health Education
HF 1414 (Lippert) proposes that the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) post model comprehensive sexual health education programs for elementary and secondary students. It lists topics that these models must address and requires school districts to implement comprehensive sexual health programs starting in 21-22. Districts that do not adopt a model must submit their program to the Commissioner of Education for approval.
MREA Executive Director Fred Nolan, testified before the committee that MREA “puts learners first,” and that sexual health and safety are important aspects of everyone’s health, safety and wellbeing. He testified that he had no objections to MDE putting up model curriculums that address a list of topics.
However, he pointed out that health has no state standards by law: 120B.021 “(6) health, for which locally developed academic standards apply.” Also MREA member districts have had issues getting MDE approval for other programs which the Legislature established such as four day weeks, innovation zones and American Indian Funding. He urged changes in the implementation to statements of assurances.
There is no Senate companion to HF 1414.
New High School Classes
The Committee heard bills calling for two new required high school courses:
- HF847/SF19 (Her/Cwodzinski) – High School graduation personal finance required.
- HF249/SF294 (Urdahl/Nelson) – Graduation and civics testing requirements modified to ensure students adequately prepared to be capable citizens able to fully participate in the political process.