Minnesota House passes $900M increase to education budget


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ST. PAUL, Minnesota. April 23, 2019 – Education Minnesota congratulated the Minnesota House on Tuesday for passing its education omnibus bill, which includes $900 million in new spending on public education.

“Students shouldn’t be denied the support they need to succeed because their schools are suffering from chronic underfunding,” said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota. “The bill passed by the Minnesota House will go a long way toward giving every student, no matter where they were born or what they look like, the freedom to go as far as their talent and hard work will take them.”

Specht noted the bill would pay for thousands of children to attend preschool and expand full-service community schools, which brings healthcare and other services into school buildings where children can reach them. The bill would also allow districts to hire more counselors and other mental health professionals and provide dedicated money for attracting and retaining highly qualified teachers of color, a proven strategy for raising the achievement of students of color.

“The House bill recognizes the racial demographics of Minnesota’s students changing, but so are their educational needs. The bill spends more than $110 million on the exploding costs of providing special education services,” Specht said. “While that will only pay for a fraction of the unfunded mandates from the state and federal government, it’s an acknowledgment that the old ways of funding services for the students who need us the most aren’t sufficient anymore.”

On policy, the House added needed transparency and accountability to the state’s new teacher licensure law, which radically lowered the training requirements to earn a teaching license in Minnesota. The bill would require districts and charter schools to disclose publicly how many teachers of each tier they employ. It increases the amount of the state oversight of teachers with the least training, closes certain loopholes and prevents administrators from assigning students to a Tier 1 or 2 teachers in back-to-back years.

“For decades, Minnesota parents could drop off their kids at school and be fairly certain their teachers were well prepared, not only in content areas but also classroom and behavior management, childhood development and social-emotional learning,” Specht said. “Those days are over. Minnesota is running an experiment to see how little teacher training the state can require. If this experiment doesn’t work, many students will miss a year of learning they won’t get back. Why should we wait to gather data about how it's going? Or to provide some guardrails for parents who don’t know all teachers are no longer trained equally? This bill may cause problems for people who want to run a school full of teachers without training in the art and science of teaching, but it’s good for parents and students.”

About Education Minnesota
Education Minnesota is the voice for professional educators and students. Education Minnesota’s members include teachers and education support professionals in Minnesota’s public school districts, faculty members at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges and University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and Crookston, retired educators and student teachers. Education Minnesota is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.