Let’s all make a difference for Minnesota’s students

Now is the time
for funding

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Letter author

A letter from Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota

Pro-public-education lawmakers are on our side. This is our time, Minnesota, to secure the resources our schools, our students and our future need to succeed.

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the Issues

Increase school funding

Male teacher working on computer

Funding education is just plain smart.

Our public schools are at the breaking point. Year after year of shortfalls have left them with not much left to cut, except hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Challenges

  • Per-pupil funding has fallen 18 percent in real dollars* since 2003.
  • Educators earn 11 percent less than similarly educated peers.
  • Our state hasn’t paid its share of special education costs.
  • The 2011 Teacher Evaluation and Development law remains unfunded.
* Using the Implicit Price Deflator

Treat education support professionals fairly

Male teacher with glasses and thick beard concentrates on paperwork

Our education support professionals earn respect. Every day.

It’s not just that we don’t staff enough education support professionals. It’s that we don’t compensate them fairly, nor do we respect the real difference they make.

Challenges

  • Many education support professionals work two and even three other jobs to make ends meet.
  • Some have little or no voice in staffing levels and work environment.
  • Training for working with behavior problems isn’t mandatory.
  • State law does not include notifying education support professionals when students have a history of violent behavior.

Reduce class sizes

Female teacher in blazer in front of white board saying,“Do you believe that tomorrow depends on what we do today?”

Our students deserve more.

More opportunities for one-on-one time with teachers. More mental health support. More educators of color. More, period.

Challenges

  • Class sizes of 40 or more students are becoming all too common.
  • Minnesota’s 743 to 1 student-to-counselor ratio is one of the nation’s highest.
  • Educators do not represent the growing diversity in our classrooms.
  • Our state faces a critical teacher shortage, especially in greater Minnesota.

Make college affordable

Male teacher with thick glasses near computer and notepad

Higher education is for everybody.

Student debt isn’t just a burden – it’s a growing barrier to our young people’s dreams of making a difference. In not just their lives, but all of our lives.

Challenges

  • Minnesota’s average state college student debt load is the nation’s fifth highest.
  • State tuition support fell from two-thirds to one-fourth since 2000.
  • Overall higher education funding is 10 percent less than it was a decade ago.
  • The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is underfunded.

“Our schools are starting to crumble. We can’t sit back and let that happen. We have to make the change.”

Minda Anderson

New London-Spicer