MinnCAN, a statewide public education advocacy nonprofit, today released its policy goals for the 2014 state legislative session, and a comprehensive platform to ensure stronger outcomes for all students.
MinnCAN’s 2014 legislative priorities:
- Expand funding for MinneMinds pre-K scholarships
- Place student teachers with highly effective educators
- Promote career and technical high school course flexibility
- Increase charter school accountability
“We’re steadfast in pursuing innovative, research-backed policies to improve outcomes for Minnesota kids,” said Daniel Sellers, MinnCAN executive director. “Minnesota has adopted several reforms in recent years, from educator evaluations and alternative teacher certification to increased funding for high-quality pre-K. And the results are in: achievement gaps are shrinking and high school graduation rates are improving. Let's stay the course toward raising achievement for all students.”
MinnCAN continues to help lead the bipartisan MinneMinds coalition, which advocates to increase funding for early learning scholarships by $20 million and guarantee parents flexibility to select from high-quality programs. Currently, MinneMinds funding reaches only 9 percent of eligible children.
As a means to improve student teacher placements–and apply leading research from the National Council on Teacher Quality–MinnCAN recommends that Minnesota leverage teacher evaluations to assign student teachers to highly effective educators. Teacher evaluations roll out fully statewide in fall 2014.
The initiative to promote career and technical course flexibility to meet certain math and science standards stems from MinnCAN's 19-stop 2013 Road to Success statewide tour. “We heard again and again that allowing certain career and technical classes to fulfill math and science requirements would improve high school graduation rates and college and career readiness–all while upholding state standards,” Sellers explained.
Finally, MinnCAN supports increased charter school accountability, and will work to require charter authorizers to articulate measurable student outcomes and to take steps–including closure–if chronically poorly performing charter schools are not turned around.
A vision to strengthen public education
Marking a first for the nonprofit, MinnCAN also released a strategic roadmap–five policy pillars–that will guide the organization’s long-term research and advocacy efforts. MinnCAN intends these pillars to initiate more comprehensive and compounding education policy changes.
MinnCAN’s long-term policy pillars:
- Start early with high-quality pre-K
By closing its pre-K access gap, Minnesota can save approximately $860 million a year, and ensure that our youngest learners arrive to kindergarten ready to excel.
- Expand high-quality school options for all families
Innovation and high-quality options can provide immediate relief for families in persistently poor-performing schools, and help turn struggling districts around.
- Elevate great teaching and leadership
Teachers are the number one in-school factor for student success, and they need strong school leaders to help them excel. We need to elevate the teaching profession and replicate best practices for both teachers and principals.
- Meet individual student needs
We can educate students more effectively by meeting their individual needs–from early interventions to enrichment–and connecting with their passions and strengths.
- Set high expectations for everyone
When we set high expectations for kids, they reach them. Let’s set the bar high, and then help students, teachers and parents better understand student performance throughout the year and the continuum. This starts with fewer but better assessments so that all education stakeholders can make informed decisions.
MinnCAN welcomes public comment: email your thoughts to Deputy Director Nicholas Banovetz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on MinnCAN’s legislative policy goals or pillars, or for interviews with Daniel Sellers, contact Ariana Kiener: 612-666-3066 or email@example.com.
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About MinnCAN: Launched in 2011, MinnCAN: The Minnesota Campaign for Achievement Now is an education advocacy nonprofit. MinnCAN is a movement of 11,000 Minnesotans–and growing–dedicated to creating the political will to enact smart public policies to ensure that every Minnesota child has access to a great public school. Learn more at www.minncan.org.