Sen. Isaacson: The Republican Education Bill Shortchanges MN Students
Sen. Isaacson Statement:
“Today Senate Majority Republicans passed their education bill. A bill I did not support. This bill goes back on their promise to provide schools the funding increases necessary to avoid cuts. In a time of surplus, Republicans have shown us their values once again by prioritizing major cuts for wealthy business owners above Minnesota kids.
We all know that previous year’s investments in pre-k have been wildly successful, as parents of young kids like myself, want their children to be prepared for kindergarten. Republican’s decision not to expand pre-k is a detrimental to 4-year-olds across the state. Budgets reflect our values, and leaving our earliest learners behind is out of step with Minnesotans’ values.
High-quality, trained teachers are a major key to our students’ success, but the Republican E-12 bill makes a controversial policy change to the way Minnesota licenses teachers. Under this bill school districts will now be able to hire teachers with minimal teacher training, jeopardizing the success of our students. That’s just not right.
At a time when Minnesota is experiencing a $1.6 billion surplus, we could give schools the investments they need in order to avoid cuts and keep class sizes low. However, Republicans have shown what they value most: tax cuts for the wealthy, over Minnesota students.”
This bill provides $300 million in new funding for Minnesota’s public education system. It does not provide the necessary funding to meet the goals of a two percent/year increase in the Basic Education Funding formula, a promise that was reiterated by the chair and other GOP education leaders during the session. It provides a 1.5 percent increase on the formula, each year of the biennium.
- Formula increase: 1.5 percent/1.5 percent each year: $91/student each year of the biennium: Total $274 million
It funds some small grant proposals from bills heard throughout the session, mainly from GOP members. It does make permanent a compensatory pilot grant project that spends $13 million over two years and more than $14 million in FY20-21 and beyond.
The major policy provision is the Tiered Teacher licensure provisions, and the overhaul of the state’s Board of Teaching into the Professional Educator Licensing Board. It also provides funding for the Board transition and the Tiered Licensure implementation.
The bill does not contain the controversial provisions that Allow 9-12th graders to take courses at non-public schools up to one-third of minimum hour requirements and receive graduation requirement credits. It also does not de-link compensatory finding from the basic formula nor does it contain provisions that tie funding to test scores or testing participation.