Daniel Sellers was MinnCAN’s executive director from 2012-2016.

We’ve come a long way. From attaining educator evaluations and alternative teacher certification to increasing access to high-quality pre-K, we’re improving outcomes for Minnesota kids: achievement gaps are shrinking and graduation rates are improving.

Today, we’re continuing our work by pursuing more innovative, research-backed policies at the state capitol, and proposing long-term policy “pillars” to strengthen public education.

Our 2014 legislative priorities:

  1. Expand MinneMinds pre-K scholarships
    We’ll continue to help lead the bipartisan MinneMinds coalition–advocating for an additional $20 million in funding and parent flexibility to select from high-quality programs. Current funding reaches only 9 percent of low-income children.
  2. Place student teachers with highly effective educators
    To improve student teacher placements and ensure teachers enter the field prepared, Minnesota should leverage teacher evaluations to assign student teachers to highly effective educators. Teacher evaluations–which many districts already use–roll out fully statewide in fall 2014.
  3. Promote career and technical high school course flexibility
    A pervasive theme from our 19-stop 2013 Road to Success statewide tour, Minnesota should allow certain career and technical classes to fulfill math and science requirements to improve graduation rates and college and career readiness–all while upholding state standards.
  4. Increase charter school accountability
    Our state should require charter authorizers to articulate measurable student outcomes and to take steps–including closure–to turn chronically poorly performing charters around.

A vision to strengthen public education
Our new strategic roadmap, based off of research and conversations with educators and community leaders, will guide our long-term research and advocacy efforts, and—we believe—initiate comprehensive and compounding education policy changes.

Our long-term policy pillars:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

We're eager to hear your feedback on our long-term vision and this year's policy goals! Please email your thoughts to Deputy Director Nicholas Banovetz at nicholas.banovetz@minncan.org.

We’re excited to work with you on behalf of Minnesota kids—in 2014 and beyond!


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