Educators for Excellence-Minnesota Celebrates Teacher-Led Legislative Wins in Newly-Passed E-12 Education Omnibus Bill
Educators for Excellence-Minnesota, a teacher-led organization, celebrated a number of legislative wins for students and teachers that were included in the E-12 education omnibus bill passed by the legislature. The bill is expected to be signed by Governor Walz shortly. The educator-supported policies would not have been possible without the advocacy, legislative testimony, and outreach by more than a hundred E4E-Minnesota teachers:
- Pathways to licensure will remain in place, which will allow effective, alternatively certified teachers to earn permanent licensure
- More than $5 million for mentoring, induction, and retention of teachers of color and indigenous teachers
- $1.75 million for training programs on alternatives to punitive discipline practices
- No ban on transgender student athletes
“Our students have been through so much over the last couple years,” said E4E-Minnesota member Dawna Diamon, a special education teacher in Minneapolis. “Now, more than ever, they need inclusive, positive schools that accept and celebrate who they are. They deserve to be able to be their full selves at school, to participate in the extracurriculars of their choosing, and to have teachers who look like them. It’s heartening to see our elected leaders recognize that, as they have today.”
“Today is a step in the right direction for teacher diversity,” said Paula Cole, Executive Director of Educators for Excellence-Minnesota. “Not only is our state making a wise investment in recruiting, developing, and retaining teachers of color and indigenous teachers, but by protecting tiered teacher licensure as is, we will be ensuring that a great number of talented teachers — many of whom are also indigenous teachers and teachers of color — aren’t pushed out of the classroom. And, that’s great news for Minnesota students.”
“Expanding teachers’ access to professional development on non-punitive discipline practices will also mean an important shift from punishing students suffering from trauma to giving them the tools to address their emotions in a healthy way,” Cole continued.
In addition to celebrating these wins, Educators for Excellence hopes to continue lifting up teacher voice with improvements to the school funding formula, which they worked hard on this year, but did not make it into the final bill.
“While it was disappointing to see the proposed suspension ban for kindergarten through third grade students fail, we know teachers will continue the fight so that we can dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline in Minnesota,” Cole added. “We also look forward to continuing the conversation with lawmakers about creating a more equitable school funding formula through changes to compensatory revenue. Perhaps most importantly, we must stop penalizing schools that serve our state’s most economically marginalized students, but instead invest the resources those students and educators deserve.”