Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Teacher Licensure Conference Committee Meets.  The conference committee on HF 140--the bill that would create the new Professional Educators Licensing and Standards Board--met briefly this morning, largely to take testimony from stakeholders on elements in each bill that they either liked or found concerning.  Action on the bill is not imminent and there is concern both from Education Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Education about the proposed Tier 1 license that would open up eligibility to teach for a number of candidates without a teaching license (and in some cases without a baccalaureate degree).  For my part, I voiced support for the provision in the Senate bill that would eliminate the requirement that teachers holding an Academic and Behavioral Strategist (ABS) license obtain an anchor license in a disability category by the five-year mark in their teaching career in order to retain the ABS license.  I also mentioned the Senate provision that would study the Minnesota's current array of special education licenses and find ways to create greater flexibility while ensuring teachers are receiving the training they need to effectively meet the needs of students with barriers to learning.

Not much else happened today.  A member of the Senate majority had a family emergency and with their one-vote margin eliminated, passing any major budget or tax legislation would have been impossible without getting a vote from the minority.  Put bluntly, impossible.  Bills will be moving off the Senate floor shortly and to the Governor for his promised veto.  When the dust settles, we'll have a week to put everything to bed, but there's no assurance that we'll get things to bed or that they won't wake up after they are put there.

Some finger-pointing and invective have made their way into the fray, so I urge everyone to relax and listen to this golden oldie from Kris Kristofferson and his drawling baritone on "Who's to Bless and Who's to Blame."  It kind of sums up the feeling around the Capitol these days and who one blesses or blames will likely depend on the color of your jersey, but just lie back and enjoy.  Anyway, did you know Kristofferson was a Rhodes Scholar, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and an Army helicopter pilot who successfully completed Ranger training?  Well, now you do.

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