Home Press Release Legislature invests in current and future educators during 2024 session

Legislature invests in current and future educators during the 2024 session

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota. May 20, 2024 – The Minnesota Legislature invested time and money in current and future educators during the 2024 session as policymakers worked to alleviate the shortage of educators that affects nearly every school district. 

“Every Minnesota student deserves a great teacher who has the support and financial security they need to focus on the work,” said Denise Specht, the president of Education Minnesota. “This session lawmakers made it a priority to help educators already in the worksites and those still in college. Even in a tight budget year, lawmakers listened and used one-time money to improve the lives of educators.” 

Legislators provided new funding and policies for educators, including: 

  • More than $60 million in funding for the READ Act, including stipends and other support for teachers who must take extra training in literacy instruction. 
  • $30 million to improve teacher pensions, with $28 million for the Teachers’ Retirement Association and $2 million for the Saint Paul Teachers’ Retirement Fund Association. The TRA money will implement a new, lower normal retirement age a year earlier than scheduled, which will save teachers retiring this summer thousands of dollars that would have been lost to early retirement penalties. For SPTRFA, the money will ease until 2026 a plan for sharp increases in employee contributions. 
  • $6.5 million to start a pilot program to pay student teachers for their training time in Minnesota classrooms. The program will pay almost half the student teachers in the state in the 2024-25 school year.  
  • $6.5 million in grants to retain teachers of color and American Indian teachers. 
  • $2.7 million to upgrade the computer system of the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board so Minnesota teachers can interact with the licensing agency online.  
  • Creating an Educator Compensation Working Group to bring together legislators and educators to discuss how below-market compensation contributes to the educator shortage and suggest solutions. 
  • Modifying the Public Employee Insurance Program to make the pool a more competitive choice for educators squeezed by startling price hikes from health insurance corporations. 
  • Requiring health insurance corporations to provide more transparency in their bids to school districts so decision-makers can compare fees and administrative costs. 
  • For higher education, the Legislature created new regulations and guardrails on for-profit online program management companies, which contract with Minnesota State campuses for various services. 

The Legislature also acknowledged the national campaign to limit students’ freedom to read age-appropriate books in their public school libraries by passing the “Library Bill of Rights” which says libraries cannot restrict access to material because of “partisan or doctrinal disapproval.” The bill clearly states that parents or guardians may decide which books or other materials their own children may check out. 

“The Legislature stood up for our students’ freedom to read books in which they see characters like themselves and their own families,” Specht said. “Only through finding books that resonate with young readers can educators inspire a love of reading and life-long learning.” 

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.

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