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Legislative Update and a Happy Easter from Rep. Sondra Erickson

Friday, April 7, 2017

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Blessings to you and your loved ones this Easter time.

As I ponder what happens here in St. Paul, I realize that the vast majority of people are looking to politics, science and education for the solution to life’s problems, and not to Jesus Christ.

It was the resurrection of Christ that caused the disciples to go out to change the world of their day. They preached that Christ was alive and this should be our message, not only at Easter but every day of the year. The risen Christ wants to come into our hearts today. I pray you are able to find time to meditate on God’s most perfect gift this Easter.

Much like last week, we have spent most of this week in debate on the House floor, passing various omnibus policy and finance bills. Last Thursday, we passed the House K-12 Education bill, which included a total of $1.1 billion in new funding for Minnesota schools and students. We increased the school funding formula by 1.25% for both 2018 and 2019, which will mean a $207 million increase in funding for our public schools. This bill passed with a vote of 75/54 and will be debated in a conference committee with the Senate once the legislature returns from a week-long Easter Break.

This week we also passed a provision that would simplfy the process for teacher licensure in our state. This bill was developed in response to a 2015 report by the Office of the Legislative Auditor which identified significant flaws in our current licensure system. This bill provides more clarity, and streamlines the process by doing the following:

  • Establishing a tiered licensure framework that ensures high standards, clear expectations, consistency, transparency, and identifies several accessible and affordable pathways for teacher licensure.

  • Incorporates the unique and valuable skill-set of CTE (career and technical education) instructors within the tiered framework, including recognition of industry-related professional credentials and verifiable work experience.

  • Adopts technical and clarifying recommendations from non-partisan offices to provide increased comprehension of teacher licensure provisions in state statutes and rule.

  • Creates a new Professional Educator Licensing Board to manage this tiered licensure system and provide transparent governance to licensure policy implementation.

Again, God bless you and your loved ones as we celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ our Lord this week.




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