The Long Game: The Impact of this Legislation Will Take Time, But We Cannot Wait

The Long Road

• This Legislation includes an expectation that all students, K-12, will be taught, with fidelity, the advanced thinking skills listed

• This Legislation includes an expectation that all districts will a have defensible gifted

program that identifies students through universal screening

• This Legislation includes an expectation that all districts will be held accountable for growth

in critical and creative thinking abilities as measured on a common instrument

• This Legislation includes an expectation that the social emotional needs of all students will

be addressed with comprehensive programming

• This Legislation includes funding to support this initiative at $39 PPU

This legislation impacts all students. Teaching these skill will take time. A student who enters 9th grade in the fall of 2021 will graduate 4 years later with a deep background in these advanced thinking skills. A Kindergarten student, taught how to compare, contrast and classify in Kindergarten and later taught all the advanced thinking skills, will graduate with an even deeper level of background and confidence applying these skills.

This legislation, once implemented with fidelity, will begin immediately to change how students are learning, how and what teachers are teaching and how the school day will evolve. The impact on learning will not be felt immediately but over time we will begin to observe greater student buy in to the learning and increased motivation to learn resulting in greater performance on measurement tools we employ.

Measuring thinking will pay off with achievement gaps closing and all students being better prepared to join a changed workplace or take on the rigorous coursework needed for the college or trade school experience. But it will take a focused effort to teach all kids to think critically and creatively.

In the Information Age our students need a different preparation. They need to be well prepared to take on work we still have not yet imagined. But we do know that the workplace is already moving into a different modality. Automation and robotics will replace the repetitive task oriented work and even more sophisticated tasks that require multiple steps. This legislation will prepare our students for the work of the 21st Century.

This legislation requires funding to support its implementation. We are recommending that in the first year of funding, $26 PPU be allocated to allow district to ramp up their readiness for full implementation and $39 PPU in the second year. During that first year of implementation districts would be expanding their current gifted programs or starting up a program from the information about gifted programming we can provide. Those districts would also examine how well their practices already meet the expectation of the rule. Are teachers teaching creative and critical thinking skills and other advanced skills across the grade levels? Where are the gaps? What do we need to accomplish to be ready? The $39 PPU may be enough to accomplish those goals under this legislation, but over time we may discover, especially after evaluation, that more money is needed.

With the $7.7B surplus ahead for Minnesota, choices will need to be prioritized.  Teaching all kids how to think creatively, critically, how to engage in inquiry learning and problem based learning will result in better prepared graduates of our public schools, ready to successfully take on rigorous course work in high school and pursue trade school or college, following a pathway toward higher paying and more satisfying employment. Higher paying jobs positively impact lifetime income, home owning, investments for the future, and positive contributions to tax revenue

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