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Entenza education plan would scrap No Child Left Behind, provide mentoring for teachers

DFL gubernatorial candidate Matt Entenza today released an education plan that would opt out of the federal No Child Left Behind plan and would instead implement what he calls “meaningful standards.”

DFL gubernatorial candidate Matt Entenza today released an education plan that would opt out of the federal No Child Left Behind plan and would instead implement what he calls “meaningful standards.”

A tough state budget will hinder his plan, he admits, so he wants to tackle the tough political work as the economy recovers, “so that when budget conditions permit, accelerated and sustained by embracing the clean energy economy, the state’s education system will be ready to launch quickly into a new era of innovation and achievement.”

Entenza is running in the Aug. 10 DFL primary against party-endorsed Margaret Anderson Kelliher and former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton.

Entenza’s campaign lists these highlights of the education plan:

  • Getting rid of No Child Left Behind and establishing real accountability through effective testing and replacing the federal school inspection process with a homegrown one attentive to the unique situation of each institution and community. It also aims to bring the public closer to public education and to not just think about addressing the achievement gap, but rather to focus on a strategy to eliminate it.
  • Helping our teachers thrive through effective mentoring programs and increased professional assistance. Too many teachers are lost in the first five years of teaching. Not only do we need to do a better job of supporting them, we also need to make a committed recruitment effort to bring the best and brightest into the classroom.
  • Connecting students to technology and maximizing our opportunities. These will be keys to success in the future. For instance, students in areas where language classes have been cut can still get instruction by participating in tele-learning with other kids in similar situations around the state.
  • Recognizing the need to rebuild our education system through innovation and collaboration. Minnesota needs to begin thinking more creatively on ways to use the tools at our disposal, such as creating a web-based clearinghouse of proven lesson plans and best practices to ensure that every school is benefiting from the insights of every other. Along these lines there is also a need for an independent research center that can apolitically evaluate the effectiveness of new teaching methods and policies, so that best practices are never held up by politics.

Entenza said he consulted with university professors, teachers, administrators and parents before developing the plan.