Education | Prairie Public Broadcasting


Consultant: US education needs to change

Sep 23, 2015

A representative of the National Center on Education and the Economy says he’s concerned about education in the United States.

Marc Tucker says the research shows the US falling farther and farther behind other countries.

"In many countries, high school graduates are two to three years ahead of the average American student when they leave high school," said Tucker.

Tucker says it’s a case where US education has been standing still – while other countries have changed and improved. He says the US should seriously consider some of the things they’re doing.

The Legislature’s interim Education Committee has begun its work.

Its agenda includes standards and assessments.

"We have a job to do for the state, in seeing what our standards are and where we want to be, and where we want to go," said the Committee's chairman, Sen. Don Schiable (R-Mott). "Let's not relive this. It's moving forward."

State school superintendent Kirsten Baesler welcomed that comment.

'Leveraging the Senior Year' initiative from DPI

Jul 15, 2015

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler calls it “Leveraging the Senior Year.”

Baesler says the effort has two prongs: one, to make sure seniors who decide to go to college are prepared for college, so they don’t have to take remedial courses; and two, to increase the number of students taking dual credit or advanced placement courses. She says students in that latter category are the ones who took a full course load in their freshman, sophomore and junior years.

The House has passed its version of an early childhood education bill – which slices the proposed appropriation in half.

The program is designed for pre-Kindergarten aged children.

Originally, the bill would have made $6 million available for grants to parents to send their children to early childhood education programs. The House cut it to $3 million – and the grants would be available on a needs-based basis – so that children who qualify for free and reduced school lunches would be the ones eligible for the grants.

House kills 'opt-out' bill

Apr 13, 2015

The House has killed a bill to allow parents to opt out of certain standardized tests.

As originally introduced in the House, it would have allowed an opt-out of the ACT, WorkKeys or other tests. The Senate amended it so the ACT, WorkKeys and other tests required for graduation would have been excluded from that.

It was sent to a conference committee.

"This bill strikes a workable balance between parental rights and local school district protections," said Rep. Dennis Johnson (R-Devils Lake), who served on the conference committee.

The Legislature has passed a bill to create a task force to study school district boundaries.

House Education Committee chairman Mike Nathe (R-Bismarck) says the issue can be very emotional.

"Imagine being in a city where you're across the street, looking at a school a block or two away," said Nathe. "And because the boundaries are where they're drawn, you cannot send your child there. You may have to send your child to a school 5 to 10 miles away."

Senate turns down 'parent's choice' tax deduction bill

Mar 26, 2015

The state Senate has narrowly defeated a measure to give parents who send their children to a non-public school an income tax deduction for certain educational expenses – such as fees and textbooks.

It was dubbed the “parent’s choice” bill.

Senate passes education opt-out bill

Mar 24, 2015

It’s been dubbed “the opt-out bill.”

But some members of the Senate say that’s a mis-nomer.

The bill allows parents to keep their children from taking certain assessment tests. But Sen. Donald Schiable says under the Senate version, students will still have to take tests required for graduation – like the ACT, the Work Keys Test and the new Civics Test.

The House has approved a resolution calling on Congress to eliminate the federal Department of Education.

In doing so, the House returned to the initial intent of the resolution. The Senate softened the language, so that it would call on the federal government to work with the states to improve the educational system. But the House decided to go back to the way it was introduced.

Rep. Jim Kasper (R-Fargo) says the Department itself is unconstitutional – and education is best left in the hands of the states – and local administrators and teachers.          

School "ending fund balance" bill fails

Feb 26, 2015

The House has rejected a bill that would limit what school districts can keep in the bank. Bismarck Republican Representative Mike Nathe says the bill would cap additional funding on a calculated percentage of the previous year's expenditures. He says it would prevent school districts from hanging onto those funds at the expense of tax payers.  Nathe says many small schools in western North Dakota have very large ending fund balances.