Education policy omnibus bill passed after controversial Star Rating system was removed

The education policy omnibus bill passed this week on a 42-25 vote after a controversial school Star Rating system was deleted from the bill. The Star Rating system would have set up a system to track student achievement, academic growth, and achievement gap closure rates in Minnesota schools and districts. Many spoke in opposition of the Star Rating, including the MNPTA. Opponents say the provision would have done more harm than good and gives a shallow and inaccurate assessment for schools.

Legislators approved a provision that would allow schools to display a poster, framed copy or mounted plaque saying, “In God We Trust.” However, it’s possible the courts may view posting this in public schools as a state endorsement of religion, especially if it could be shown that the primary purpose for posting the sign or plaque is to promote religion.

The bill also ignores provisions to ensure that more new teachers can be licensed in a timely manner and contains very few DFL provisions.

On a positive note, the bill did contain a few of the Governor’s requests, including respectful treatment of students, early childhood scholarship changes, threat assessment team creation, school drinking water and lead testing and abatement requirements and GED equivalency tests. (SF 3086)