Governor applauds pre-K proposal heard in Senate Education Committee today

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.

Minnesota’s classroom shortages are a serious problem

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.

DFL Senators work to expand education opportunities

Today Sen. Chuck Wiger, Chair of the E12 Committee in the Senate held a press conference with Sen. Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury), Sen. Vicki Jensen (DFL-Owatonna), Sen. Kevin Dahle (DFL-Northfield), Sen. Katie Sieben (DFL-Cottage Grove), and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook). Many DFL Senators attended to show their support for this Senate DFL Caucus priority. The proposals included agriculture educator grant, preK investments, a voluntary program to address the shocking student to counsellor ratio, funding Teacher Training and Development, and addressing the teacher shortage crisis.

Senator John Hoffman Wins MSBA Legislator of the Year Award

he Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA) awarded Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin) on Tuesday as one of its “Legislators of the Year” for 2015. According to MSBA, Sen. Hoffman was selected for the award in part due to his extensive work to make sure all schools in Minnesota are equitably funded. Hoffman says it’s an honor to be recognized.