It’s been another busy week in St. Paul as action is starting to pick up on the House floor. On Tuesday, Democrats brought forward legislation that includes Governor Walz’s recommendations for summer education for preschool, tutoring, community programs, mental health, and adult education.
Sadly, the Democrat bill does little to address the problem facing students that have fallen behind due to school closures.
Only 27 percent of the funds in the bill go toward summer programs for K-12 students to address learning loss, and only 36 percent of the funding in this bill goes directly to schools. Most importantly, significant portions of the funding in this bill have no in-person requirement which is the entire point of funding summer school programming.
Additionally, the bill funds bureaucracy, not classrooms by giving $1 million to the Department of Education (MDE), and millions more to grants to be distributed by MDE. Those dollars should be going to the classroom to improve student learning.
As the Republican lead on the Education Policy Committee, I have spent much of the past year working on ways to get students back in school. The shutdowns have caused significant harm for students by negatively impacting their academic trajectory and causing significant mental health problems for many.
The Democrat bill will do little to get kids caught up.
House Republicans offered an alternative proposal that directly addresses the issue and makes sure that kids get back in the classroom this summer. While Democrats hand out money to non-profits and bureaucrats, we want to put the dollars directly in the classroom, and directly to in-person learning so students can catch up from Governor Walz’s year of keeping schools closed.
As lawmakers, we should empower local school boards to make decisions that make the most sense for their communities and the families they serve. The Republican approach gives them the resources they need.
House Democrats Release Budget
House Democrats released details of their budget proposal this week confirming that they, like the Governor, will seek to raise taxes on Minnesotans at a time when the state has over a billion-dollar budget surplus, is expecting billions in aid from the federal government, and is sitting on billions in state budget reserves.
It should go without saying that this is a bad idea for Minnesotans and Minnesota businesses. I will share additional details of their proposals in the days and weeks ahead.
Staying in Touch
Please be sure to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-6746 or via email at rep.sondra.erickson.
Have a good day,