Update for September 18, 2015: Keep These on Your Radar

/ 18 September 2015 / Shawna

Parent Leadership Summit

The Imperative for 21st Century Learning

Oct 2, 2015
11:00 AM-2:00 PM
1640 Larpenteur Ave
St Paul, MN 55108


teacher4There are only two weeks left to reserve your space at our school year kick-off event and we want to make sure you’re there! On October 2, come have lunch with us and share in some amazing conversation!

We would like to disrupt the current dialogue that an increased focus on testing improves learning–a focus that has failed to close academic achievement gaps and has succeeded in taking the joy out of learning.

What is “The Imperative for 21st Century Learning?” Hear what the Search Institute and Minnesota Humanities Center have discovered makes the difference for our children’s learning. Ask your site councils, your PTAs, your friends and neighbors to join us as we explore what this new imperative might mean for children.

Catch up on the federal reauthorization of ESEA (No Child Left Behind)

At our event, we are excited to hear from Senator Franken’s staff regarding the Senate’s reauthorization to No Child Left Behind. We look forward to hearing what is actually in the bill!

The House’s reauthorization version is not yet complete and Congressman Kline chairs the committee that has jurisdiction over the legislation. The congressman will not be seeking reelection and has stated his interest in getting this piece of legislation complete, before he leaves office—so the clock is ticking.

Come to the Summit Early…at 10am to learn how to organize parents in your district to be affective with lawmakers about the issues that concern you most. Network with local Legislative Action Committees from across the metro.


College credit in High School – opportunities for students may soon be greatly reduced

“College in the Schools, aka Concurrent Enrollment one of the Minnesota’s most family friendly, successful education programs developed over the past 30 years, is threatened by a questionable new policy from the ironically named Higher Learning Commission.

The commission is a self-perpetuating, non-publicly elected group based in Chicago that accredit colleges and universities in 19 states, including Minnesota. Its power comes from Congress, which requires colleges and universities wanting federal ‘Pell’ grants to be accredited.”

—from _New Policy Threatens 30 years of Great Work in Minnesota _by, Joe Nathan

You may have seen the Star Tribune article this last weekend,College-Credit Courses in Minnesota High Schools are at Risk, laying out this concern for Minnesota. The truth is the qualification changes recommended by the Higher Learning Commission are creating great upheaval for students nationally. The organization is recommending a master’s degree plus an additional 18 credits for any teacher who is teaching a college level course for high school students.

As Sen. Greg Clausen observed, it is hard to know what problem the HLC’s recommendations are trying to solve. The current system for dual credit classes has been providing tremendous opportunities for student advancement in Minnesota and most other states for decades without these licensing regulations. Additionally, these new regulations were arrived at with NO public or legislative input. Even the Council of Chief State School Officers, a council comprised of each state’s education commissioner, sent this pointed reply to the HLC:

“Every student deserves a high-quality teacher, whether in K-12 or the higher education setting. Yet a great teacher is defined by more than course requirements. That is why we will work with our state members to urge the Higher Learning Commission to reconsider its new requirements that will negatively affect high school teachers who teach dual-credit courses. Dual-credit courses provide a valuable pathway for students who want to pursue post-secondary education and minimize the costs of higher education as much as possible. We must work together to foster more dual credit courses, instead of creating barriers to these opportunities.” 

Parents United’s letter to HLC requests the same. One would think that with this backlash, the HLC is rethinking their position. Yet in a response to Sen. Greg Clausens’ letter of concern, the President of the HLC says, “The June 2015 revision to this Assumed Practice states explicitly in policy what has been a longstanding Commission expectation noted in various documents promulgated by the Commission since 2002: faculty members teaching general education courses, or other non-occupational courses, hold master’s degrees or higher in the discipline in which they are teaching.”

This is an issue that Parents United is watching closely.


supportusWorth a Second Look

Minnesota Humanities Center, who will be with us for the Summit, is offering an exciting competitive grant opportunity for schools and non-profits for work that connects students to their own stories, and Veterans stories. Learn more: mnhum.org/grants. Please share this opportunity with your network and teachers!


What is Parents United’s agenda? Our agenda is simple: we don’t speak for parents, but work to provide credible, timely information about education policy and the law-making process so parents can speak for themselves. Truth be told, Parents United is a translator of complex terms and policy implications, as well as a navigator fora legislative process often oblique to the public.