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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dean Urdahl (R)

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014



ST. PAUL – Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township, is the lone minority member of the Minnesota House to receive an appointment to serve a committee that will prepare a bill pertaining to education policy for final passage.


Urdahl and others serving on this conference committee are working to reconcile differences between House and Senate versions of this session’s omnibus K-12 education policy bill (H.F. 2397). The bill’s primary components include measures pertaining to teacher preparation, teacher licensure, student expectations and more. There is strong emphasis in this year’s bill to provide better educational outcomes for English language learners.


Provisions Urdahl has authored in other forms also are in the package. One measure conducts school-year-long student teacher programs to raise the preparation standards for prospective teachers. Other provisions follow recommendations from the Career Pathways and Technical Advisory Task Force. Urdahl serves on that panel, which is identifying ways the state can help match student training with the state’s workforce demands.


“The big thing I am working on is making sure components in this bill have both wide-range and long-range vision,” said Urdahl, a former history teacher. “My goal is to put today’s students in position to capitalize on the skills they have and learn, strengthening our workforce and creating a ripple effect of positivity throughout Minnesota.”


A key difference between House and Senate versions of the bill pertains to teacher licensure skills exams. The House bill provides for an ACT/SAT test score alternative to the skills exams, along with an exemption for the non-native English speaking teachers seeking licensure for language immersion or world language instruction. The Senate bill only provides for the exemption for language immersion instruction.


The bill gained initial passage by fair margins in both legislative bodies.