St. Paul – Two days after taking the oath of office and starting her 12th year of public service in the Minnesota House of Representatives, Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton) rapped her gavel and called the Education Reform Committee to order.
The 22-person committee, tasked with reforming and improving the state’s education system, is a diverse group consisting of nine teachers or former teachers, former school board members, farmers, business owners, and former mayors.
“I’m delighted to be able to work with a group like this,” Erickson said. “There will be no end to suggestions for ways to reform our schools.”
Erickson takes over the committee as chair from Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL-Minneapols) who is now the committee’s minority lead. Credentials earned during of 37 years of teaching including 25 in alternative education, work as a teacher trainer, and six years on the state Board of Teaching earned the top spot for Erickson, a retired Princeton High School English teacher.
Erickson likens education to the seat of a stool that needs it three legs, represented by parents, teachers, and students, to stand. If there is a weak leg, the seat will be wobbly or may not stand at all.
“When looking at any proposal, we need to consider its effects on the teachers, the students, and their parents. All three have a stake in any changes we make,” Erickson said.
The first bill to be considered by the committee will likely be one that provides alternative pathways to teacher licensure.
The bill would allow professionals who are experts in their field and have education training but have not earned a degree in education to teach in Minnesota classrooms.
“This is a rigorous path to licensure,” Erickson said. “Teachers trained in these programs have had amazing success in schools across the country, especially in urban areas.”
The session will be a busy one for Erickson who, in addition to chairing the Education Reform Committee, will also serve on the committees for Education Finance, Ethics, and Taxes.
“I’m looking forward to getting back to work for the residents of our district and for all of Minnesota,” Erickson said. “I encourage everyone to visit www.house.mn/16a and sign up to receive updates to stay informed of what is going on at the Capitol. Also, please contact me with any questions or concerns.”
Erickson can be reached by phone at (651) 296-6746. She can also be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via U.S. Mail at 509 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155.