The LAC is Back….Yawn!

Well the Legislative Action Coalition is back for another session of lobbying!  Here is their agenda for the 2011 legislative session that you HAVE to support or you don’t care about the kids;

* The state must maintain its funding commitment to education, including increasing the basic formula limit of $5,124/student (unchanged since 2008-09) by two percent.
* Establish a plan to incrementally pay back the aid payment shift.
*We support sustainable resources for high quality, research-based programs, especially for high-need students, including:

— The state fully funding its obligation to special education students.
— Early childhood education programs to prepare children to be kindergarten ready.
— Expanded opportunities for extended time programming for students not making adequate yearly progress.
— Maintaining resources that specifically support closing the achievement gap, including compensatory education and integration funds.

* Like all other publicly-elected bodies, schools should be allowed to generate and spend financial resources to best meet local needs, especially when state funding resources are limited.

* School districts should not be penalized for not reaching contract settlements by January 15.
* RAS should not be financially harmed by providing an education under the care and treatment legislation.
* RAS supports reforming the current policies and procedures of managing the school trust lands to maximize the future revenues from these resources.
* RAS should not be negatively impacted by providing state mandated transportation for charter schools.
* The Minnesota Department of Education should be required to develop a model evaluation tool for teachers/principals based on multiple measures that Robbinsdale Area Schools could choose to adopt.

Hmmm….did they forget wanting to give school boards the ability to pass a discretionary levy or extend a referendum without a public vote?  OK, lets agree on a few things here (we have to find agreement when we can).  We wholeheartedly support removing the January 15 deadline as well as the transportation to charter schools.  We also agree that a system of evaluation needs to be created but the LAC seems to stop short of calling for merit pay.  The rest of it looks like the same old stuff.  Think about it; with a $6 billion deficit, what are the odds we are going to get a 2% increase per pupil, more special ed funding, more early childhood ed, integration funds, more programs after school etc.?  Where are things like….

*Combining school districts

*Ending/reforming tenure laws

*Alternative teacher licenses

*Ending/reforming back-door referendums (oh sorry alternative funding)

*Getting out of defined pensions

*More competition and more merit pay

*Simplifying the formula

I’m sure these omissions are pure coincidence.  We can’t wait to see what happens!

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5 Responses to “The LAC is Back….Yawn!”

  1. give2attain Says:

    “We wholeheartedly support removing the January 15 deadline as well as the transportation to charter schools. ”

    I understand and support removing the Jan 15 deadline. It is highly likely that this was a factor in why the RAS Board gave the Teachers a raise in a down economy. For those not familiar, the State fines Districts w/o a Teacher’s Contract by Jan 15 $25/student. (RAS would have paid ~$275K) And far as I know… They do not fine the Union… (strange) Chaska Example

    However I am uncertain exactly how Charter School Transportation and Special Ed is funded. I think it is some kind of pass through, but would appreciate hearing your perception of the system and why you support changing it. AMSD Transportation Funding Charter Funding

    I mentioned on your alter ego’s blog that this one frustrates me the most.

    * The Minnesota Department of Education should be required to develop a model evaluation tool for teachers/principals based on multiple measures that Robbinsdale Area Schools could choose to adopt.

    Repeatedly RAS/LAC asks for more local control, yet here they seem to be saying “RAS can not measure and manage our own staff until you (MDE) tell us how… By the way, then if we don’t like your system, we will not use it and say that you mandate too much. Then we will continue ignoring our poor performers and blame you (MDE)…” It seems very inconsistent… If you want local control, then start with managing your own staff.

    Thoughts?

  2. 281 Exposed Says:

    Sorry we didn’t respond right away Give,
    Thanks for the link on the charter school busing thing…we’ll rethink our rethinking! Removing the January 15 deadline is critical especially since the other Union contracts usually feed of the RFT. If we have more time to negotiate the community and the board can put pressure of the RFT.

    As far a local control goes, we think that what the Board wants is to have more say in what they do but they still want to have the state to blame when there are problems. We would like to the state set the guidelines but leave the details up to the locals. Every area is different and the locals need that flexibility. At the same time we need to ensure that certain things are learned by ALL STUDENTS. So it’s a balancing act.

    Our problem with the LAC is that their agenda is unrealistic and repetitive. Perhaps we can have a combination of funding/reform. For example, if we eliminated some school districts we could increase the per pupil amount without raising anyone’s taxes. We think alternative teacher licenses is an interesting idea that should at least be explored. I mean according to Education Minnesota Donald Trump can’t teach business and Martha Stewart can’t teach cooking. Ridiculous! And why to teachers get a special protection called tenure? We can change these things (or at least advocate to do so) again without more money,

  3. give2attain Says:

    No problem… I was not pointing to 281E in particular. I am always fascinated and frustrated that we have so few active commenters. Especially since the topics are so important to our community. (ie maintaining our property values, drawing in and keeping good neighbors, teaching our kids, controlling our tax bills, helping the less fortunate, etc)

    Most seem to be voyeurs / eaves droppers… They like watching and listening, however they are hesitant to join in the conversation. I keep hoping they will learn that we do not bite. I especially would like to have more self proclaimed “Liberals” join in and help me see the otherside of the story.

    As for Charter Funding, I always hear the District personnel implying that the charters have it easy. Yet the Charters I know have to be sponsored by some business/charity, and rely heavily on parent involvement to make a go of it. I would love to have someone explain the District’s perspective.

    My guess is that both types have their own benefits and detriments to being competitive. However it is hard to be impartial when you see the other guy’s benefits that you do not have. Especially if your salary and funding is based on student head count.

  4. 281 Exposed Says:

    Well as for charter schools, I think the district just simply hates “competition” and the fact that charters can do SOME things that normal school districts can’t. They also think that charter schools “steal their kids” when in fact families are simply “choosing” a different school.

    Your point about charter schools being sponsored by business/charity/parents is right on the money and we’d say the same thing about private schools. I’d guess that any parent cutting a check for $5000 or more is going to be involved! If private/charter schools don’t do a good job and people don’t go there, their doors will close. Public schools just get more money and more money and more money sometimes regardless of performance.

    We’d love to have more liberals blogging about education but our experience is that they simply want to call names. One could argue that 281 Exposed began by name calling on some level but we’ve tried to put forward solutions the past year or two (perhaps the passion of the referendum debate caused us to make too many petty attacks, and we have to credit YOU for helping us change the tone). As far as liberals in general, we simply see them as bankrupt on education. All they want to do is protect the “system” and the “adults” then the kids come somewhere after that. When they stop putting the union first perhaps then we will listen.

    By the way, we plan on responding to your vouchers post of a while back. I guess the Thanksgiving/Xmas shopping has us a little behind on our posts! Your post on the issue was good and comprehensive though we take issue with SOME NOT ALL of it. We appreciate that, although you are skeptical or don’t support vouchers, you don’t demagogue the issue and we look forward to an honest and frank discussion on the issue.

  5. give2attain Says:

    I agree
    I agree
    Thank you and you are welcome
    Anytime… You had better come prepared, I have been arguing vouchers with J for years…

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