"The stability of a republican form of government depending mainly upon the intelligence of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature to establish a general and uniform system of public schools." Minnesota Constitution, Article 8, Section 1
"The Legislature shall make such provisions by taxation or otherwise as with the income arising from the School fund, will secure a thorough and efficient system of Public Schools in each township in the State." Minnesota Constitution, Article 8, Section 3

  • The legislature has an obligation to fund public schools. Only consistent, adequate state funding of public schools can provide educational opportunity to every child in the state. I think we need to shift education funding back to the state and away from local levies. State funding ought to provide an adequate education for every child. Local levies ought to be used to go beyond this.
  • The Federal No Child Left Behind Act has been replace with the Every Student Succeeds Act. I am happy to see a focus on student improvement replacing the punitive nature of No Child Left Behind. In the next several years we have an opportunity to make this work.

Rep. Barb Yarusso has played a major role in our success in creating better opportunities for all student to succeed. As chair of the House K-12 Education Policy Committee, I depended on Barb's advice and experience to pass good laws that serve our students well. — Rep. Carlos Mariani Rosa, Chair of the House K-12 Education Policy Committee

The 2013-2014 legislative session has been called the "education session". I served on the K12 Education Policy Committee. Here is some of what we got done:

Early Education

  • Increased funding of early childhood education
  • All-day kindergarten for all students

Public Schools

  • Paid back all money that was borrowed from school districts
  • Testing that helps students achieve college and career goals
  • Reform of English Language learner (ELL) instruction
  • Rigorous, fair, and transparent teacher licensure test option
  • Safe and Supportive Schools Act
  • Free school lunches for low income families

Higher Education

  • Two year tuition freeze at public colleges and universities
  • Investment in university laboratories and classrooms
  • State student loan refinancing program
  • Pilot cooperative programs between employers and colleges

Teacher Licensure
One of the issues that I continue to be significantly involved in is teacher licensure. In 2016, the Office of the Legislative Auditor issued a report that was strongly critical of the complexity of Minnesota's teacher licensure statutes and implementation. This report echoes many of the concerns I have raised in our policy committee. One result of the report was the establishment of a Legislative Study Group for teacher licensure, of which I am one of 6 members from the House of Representatives. We are working during the interim between sessions to make recommendations for streamlining our licensure system. Among the issues identified in the report are different standards for teacher candidates trained in Minnesota vs other states, inconsistencies in terminology in statutes, and a lack of transparency in how candidates can resolve deficiencies in their applications.