No action on education bills, again

Two DFL bills were heard in E-12 Education Committee late last week, but neither were passed on for further legislative consideration as the committee continues to hold “information hearings” and not allow any amendments or bill passage. The committee also heard a bill that changed the name of the Children’s Museum in Rochester.

The bills heard were the first for DFL members this legislative session in the Education Committee. Unfortunately, neither bill is moving forward in the House.

The first bill would set up a pilot program requiring the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) to issue a license for short-term substitute teachers who don’t have a bachelor’s degree or traditional teacher training. The program would last for two years.

The second bill would change state law to help smaller districts more easily establish area learning centers (ALCs). ALCs provide alternative learning centers for students who struggle in traditional school settings.

As the meeting was about to wrap up, DFL members asked why the committee was only having informational hearings on bills and changing the name of the Rochester Children’s Museum when schools, families, and children faced serious issues such as mental health and technology inequities – especially for students of color.

Members also asked about school essential worker pay and asked when the committee would hear the bill addressing that but were told the bill was unnecessary and that current executive orders and Department of Education guidance were sufficient to address the issue, an answer which fails to recognize the number of workers who have been laid off. (SF 3637, SF 3238, SF 4369)