SAINT PAUL, MN—On Thursday, April 26, 2018, the House passed bipartisan education legislation on a vote of 94-29 that puts students first. House File 4328 prioritizes school and student safety, increases transparency in school finance and performance reporting, and helps prepare kids for a bright and successful future.
“As a father, the issue of school safety really hits home, which is why I’m supportive of our measures to give schools the flexibility and resources to address security concerns,” said Rep. Jim Nash, R-Waconia.
Highlights in the education portion of the bill include:
- Championing a multifaceted approach to give school districts the resources and flexibility they need to address student safety and security. That includes expanding the use of long-term facilities maintenance revenue for facility security upgrades, strengthening the state’s commitment to school-linked mental health grants, supporting suicide prevention training for teachers, increasing funding for Safe Schools Revenue, and more
- Strengthening and clarifying state law to address teacher misconduct and teacher licensure including prohibiting sexual relationships between educators and students, even if that student is 18; requiring periodic teacher background checks; and prohibiting the issuance or renewal of a teacher/administrative license or bus driver endorsement for certain felonies or gross misdemeanors involving a minor
- Requiring the Minnesota Department of Education to create a School Report Card —a one-stop-spot for summative and easily accessible school and district ratings that will provide families with a place to research, compare and help determine which school will work best for their child
- Enhancing the transparency of school funding and our commitment to tackling our state’s achievement gap by doubling the number of school audits each year. These audits will discern whether or not education dollars allocated to school districts and dedicated to special education, English-learner and low-income students are reaching the students intended
- Ensuring students are exposed to a wide variety of post-secondary options including the trades and branches of the military
- Strengthening laws that protect kids from school lunch shaming
- Creating a Special Education Working Group to engage stakeholders and examine the factors that are driving rising costs
Also included in the legislation is Rep. Nash’s provisions to establish a “VPSEO” pilot program in Waconia schools. The program would help students gain knowledge of trades or technical skills via internships and apprenticeships, all while gaining high school credit.
“I’ve been working on this bill since last year because I think we can do more to help high school students gain technical skills before they graduate,” said Nash. “Giving young people the tools to excel in our changing job market is critical to our future. There are plenty of good-paying jobs in technical and skilled work, we just need to help students gain the necessary knowledge and skillset to fill these open positions.”