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Education policy conference committee expected to approve report

Changes to the Read Act, allowing military connected schools to add a Purple Star designation, and putting a ban on book bans are part of a conference committee report that appears to be all but official.

The education policy conference committee made its way through the final differences Monday but members are awaiting nonpartisan staff to put the final language together before conferees take a final vote and sign the report.

Rep. Laurie Pryor (DFL-Minnetonka) and Sen. Steve Cwodzinski (DFL-Eden Prairie) sponsor HF3782/SF3567*, which is expected to be approved in the coming days.

Access to library materials

The agreement would prohibit banning, removing, or otherwise restricting access to an otherwise age-appropriate book or other material from a school library based solely on the viewpoint, content, message, idea, or opinion conveyed.

A school’s governing body would need to adopt a policy that would establish procedures for selection of and reconsideration of library materials. The policy could not impair or limit the rights of a parent, guardian or adult student to request a curriculum content challenge to the material.

Purple Star School Designation

House-only language would allow a school to receive a Purple Star School designation if it has, among other things, a designated staff member serving as a military liaison, offers professional development opportunities for staff members on issues related to military-connected students and recognizes the Month of the Military Child or Military Family Month with relevant events hosted by the school.

Read Act

Many technical and language changes would be made to the Read Act, including requiring evidence-based literacy intervention models for schools to adopt, the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board to conduct an audit of teacher training programs and an ongoing review of literacy materials to ensure a “non-static curriculum,” according to Sen. Erin Maye Quade (DFL-Apple Valley).

Rep. Peggy Bennett (R-Albert Lea) said the Read Act is, “Moving in the right direction,” but there are things she would change.

“I wish the language really stressed the science of reading more because there are certain educators that are trying to get around that a bit,” she said. “I don’t think we’re being direct enough sometimes, but I think this on definitely the right track.”

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