Friday, April 12, 2013

MN Education Legislative Update

Well it looks like the DFL is actively pursuing different ideas for spending more on education in MN.  (PU News Link) (PU Legislative Update) (SF News Link) (MN Leg Link) (Ed MN) (MPR Update)  The upside is that there is some discussion regarding closing the achievement gap and how to hold the schools accountable to see that it is closed.  Thoughts?

Also, here is an ironic twist. Someone is apparently proposing that all of the Districts use the State's healthcare plan.  It makes sense to me that all the public employees who's insurance is paid for through our taxes should be bundled into one bargaining unit.  This would usually enable the larger group to negotiate for rates and coverage.  However it seems that the Districts are against this.  Thoughts?
AMSD Position Paper on Health Plan
Ed MN Summary

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Riiight. I'm a Nigerian prince, and if you'll just give me your bank account number, I'll give you a lot of accountability in your public schools.

J. Ewing

Anonymous said...

Here's a crazy idea: Not one thin dime more until you start demonstrating improvement! Stick first, carrot later.

J. Ewing

John said...

I have to agree with your cynical view. The public education system and unions fought changing to meet NCLB. I don't see them embracing change and improvement now...

John said...

Just got my latest update from Parents United Let's raise those taxes !!!

John said...

By the way, I do agree that more early education and all day kindergarten are some good steps.

The less time the kids have to learn poor beliefs and behaviors from their parents and community, the less the schools will have to "unteach them". Also hopefully they won't be so far behind their "lucky" peers when they get to school.

G2A Stupid or Unlucky
G2A Stubborn Achievement Gap
G2A Blame vs Contributions

Laurie said...

"The House’s $550 million spending proposal would add 2 percent a year to the general education formula. Theoretically anyhow, that’s new money for every pupil in the state.

Conservatively estimated, inflation over the next biennium is projected to eat up $500 million — virtually the entire increase to the formula."

Education finance bills offer highlights, lowlights — and 'lower lights'

I also learned from MNPost that Dayton has a similar increase in education funding, though some of his is designated for special ed, which works out about the same as districts spend gen ed $ on Spec ed. Legislators prefer to tell constituents that they added to the gen. fund.

Repair of special-ed funding gap is missing from omnibus ed bill

Anonymous said...

"The less time the kids have to learn poor beliefs and behaviors from their parents and community, the less the schools will have to "unteach them". Also hopefully they won't be so far behind their "lucky" peers when they get to school. "

And yet almost every study done shows that, the longer kids stay in the public school system, the worse they do relative to competitive school systems, especially our international competition. The proposed all-day kindergarten bill has been studied, and by 3rd grade, all gains are erased. How is it possible to teach kids something in kindergarten and then take it away from them in just two years of additional schooling??? It's just nuts. We keep pouring more money into the panacea and promises machine, and it all goes to buy toilet paper.

J. Ewing

John said...

Laurie,
Very interesting links/sources. I'll need to look into growth vs inflation issue a little further.

J,
You are correct, your claim seems impossible. Sources?

Anonymous said...

I remember things, just not where. It's a pain to go googling this stuff but it is there.

http://www.wmich.edu/cpmp/parentresource/timss.html

You can probably find similar information surrounding the all-day kindergarten bill or studies of class size, all of which show the same thing. Advantages conferred by things like all-day kindergarten or lowered class size do not reliably persist beyond 3rd grade.

John said...

Parent Resource TIMSS

I'll look at it closer later, however upon a quick look this link is saying that the American students are improving, however not as fast as those in other countries. (ie not going backward) Therefore they lose ground relative to students in other countries.

That makes sense to me given the low number of hours our students have in school each year. Especially in the areas of language, science and math.

Starting earlier and should still give us an advantage over today's method.

Anonymous said...

If you think increasing contact hours makes sense, then let's do that. What I know is that the contact hours we now have aren't doing all that well. Multiple regression studies have shown that the number one factor in academic achievement is an effective teacher, followed by a challenging curriculum and an effective discipline policy. Those things are essentially "free," right now, but instead we allow the public schools to go through endless excuses, all of which promise better results if we spend more money, when we already spend more than any other nation. I think it's time we quit letting these educrats off the hook, stop buying all of their excuses, and demand some positive results RIGHT NOW. THEN we can consider additional spending, if they can guarantee still better results.

How many years have we been paying to reduce class sizes, when we know it doesn't matter? How many years has "integration funding" promised to eliminate the gap that still persists? Remember "new math"?

J. Ewing

John said...

I know that they have been lobbying for smaller class sizes, however in my district it never really happened. The citizens and politicians have kept their budget increases pretty constrained.

And if Laurie is correct, this DFL increase will just cover inflation... No smaller classes happening here anytime soon.

I agreed fully with NCLB, AYP, etc as methods to keep the pressure on the School Mgmt to make the right decisions for their neediest students, not just the most influential students/parents. Unfortunately Obama and crew decided to throw the baby out with the bath water in their attempt to "fix" it.

As for earlier contact and more hours, we know it works. Harlem's Children Zone The big question is can it work in a Gov't/Union managed system? Like you I have my doubts... But we have to keep trying, unless you have the money to set up a "N Mpls Children's Zone".

John said...

An interesting opinion piece.

Anonymous said...

As I've always said, the public school system gets paid the same (or more) regardless of whether the kids succeed or fail. Under what imaginable circumstance will that result in increased achievement? The ONLY way, IMHO, was the "teeth" in the original NCLB law that required "failing schools" to pay (or at least "lose funding") to send the kids someplace else.

J. Ewing