Thanks to the efforts of legislators like Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin) and his Senate colleagues – 3,300 four-year-olds will have a better opportunity to succeed in school this fall. This week Governor Dayton announced the schools receiving pre-K funding from the $25 million investment passed this session. Both of Sen. Hoffman’s school districts are receiving funds; the grant size and the number of students served are listed below:
The Legislative Study Group on Educator Licensure, co-chaired by Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewood) and Rep. Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton) will be discussing key recommendations next Thursday, July 21. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. in room 1200 of the Minnesota Senate Building. Study group members will begin by addressing the question of which agency is responsible for what activities involved in issuing teacher licenses.
After hours of debate, the Senate passed a $489 million budget bill on Thursday. The bill includes investments for all areas of the state budget including education, transportation, public safety and others. A majority of Sen. Susan Kent’s (DFL-Woodbury) high priority education-related proposals have been included in the bill. Sen. Kent says she’s proud of the hard work of the Senate, and she’s proud of the DFL caucus for focusing on maintaining fiscal stability in the coming years.
Public school students, teachers and families across Minnesota are poised to benefit from the Senate’s passage of the Education Policy Bill.
The Senate’s version of a voluntary pre-K program received a hearing in the Senate Education Committee Wednesday morning. Debate lasted well over an hour on the merits of the $25 million bill that would serve just under 4,000 Minnesota 4-year-olds. Bill author Sen. Katie Sieben (DFL-Cottage Grove) said the bill is a step forward to one day providing access to pre-K for all Minnesota 4-year-olds.
Teacher shortages in Minnesota have reached critical levels, and there’s no easy fix. The issue is not confined to just one part of the system; unsustainable trends in teacher recruitment, licensure areas, and increased retirements have worked together to create a school environment in which students either do not have the right teachers in the classroom or schools can’t find enough applicants for the positions they need to fill. This happens most frequently in rural communities, and if continued, will badly damage Minnesota’s ability to provide a strong education for students no matter where they live in the state.