MSBA, MASA, Education Minnesota tout all-day K, per-pupil investment, evaluation
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ST. PAUL, Minn., Feb. 25, 2013 -- The three most influential groups in E-12 education presented their shared priorities at a joint news conference Monday, arguing that investing in education this year would pay off with a stronger economy in the future.
Leaders from Education Minnesota, the Minnesota School Boards Association and the Minnesota Association of School Administrators called for additional investments in all-day kindergarten, per-pupil funding, and teacher development and evaluation.
Gary Amoroso, executive director of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators, said a 5 percent increase in per-pupil spending in the first year of the biennium followed by an inflationary increase in the second year would begin to reverse years of budget cuts.
“Our class sizes are now so large, we’re putting our future workforce at a disadvantage,” he said. The proposed funding increase would cost an estimated $660 million for the biennium.
Tom Dooher, president of Education Minnesota, said research has shown that offering all-day kindergarten is an effective tool for closing achievement gaps and improving graduation rates. He said free all-day, every-day kindergarten should be available to all Minnesota students.
“You can’t build anything without a strong foundation, especially a child’s education,” Dooher said. “This is our chance to give that boost to every child in the state.” The cost of providing all-day kindergarten has been estimated at $350 million for the biennium.
Kirk Schneidawind, deputy executive director of the Minnesota School Boards Association, said the system of professional development and evaluation for teachers mandated by the Legislature in 2011 would create a cycle of continuous improvement, but it would be expensive.
“The 2011 Legislature created this mandate, but it’s up to the 2013 Legislature to pay for it,” he said. Good faith estimates of the cost of the mandate range from $80 million to $150 million a year. “If the Legislature doesn’t fund this mandate, it will pressure districts to make cuts in programs and staff, which the public doesn’t want.”
In a closing statement, Dooher praised Gov. Mark Dayton for making education a priority in his budget while proposing a system of tax reforms that would raise revenue and increase fairness. “Without the governor’s leadership, thoughtful and lasting improvements to our schools this year wouldn’t be possible,” he said.
About Education Minnesota
Education Minnesota represents 70,000 professionals working together for excellence in education for all students. Education Minnesota’s members include teachers and educational support professionals in Minnesota’s public school districts, faculty members at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges and University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and Crookston, retired educators and student teachers.
About Minnesota School Boards Association
The Minnesota School Boards Association supports, promotes and enhances the work of public school boards and public education. MSBA was founded in 1920 and is the eighth-oldest school board organization in the United States.
About Minnesota Association of School Administrators
As advocates for children, the Minnesota Association of School Administrators shapes and influences the state and federal education agenda, serves as the preeminent voice for public education, and empowers all members through high quality services, support and professional development.
February 25, 2013