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Update on Developmental Education at the Legislature

Developmental educators can relax this summer knowing that a second attempt to legislate what we do in our profession has bit the dust.  The final bill regarding higher education had no language pertaining to developmental education.  If you are feeling thankful, please send missives of praise and thanks to Ben Kiely, English faculty (and MNADE member) at North Hennepin (bkiely@nhcc.edu), and Rick Nelson of MSCF (rick.nelson@edmn.org).  Ben testified against both bills in the House and Senate, and Rick did what he does so well—talking to legislators on a daily basis to advocate for our students and our ability to do our jobs with integrity and autonomy.  Ben also supplied talking points to MSCF as revisions appeared throughout the process.

Please know that your efforts to contact key legislators did not go unnoticed.  If you are a member of MSCF, the MSCF staff is extremely grateful for your help.  Legislators are indeed listening to us. 

For all of us, whether you belong to MSCF, IFO, any other union, or no union, this communication must continue.  What is important to note is that legislators on both sides of the aisle were for and against this bill.  It is not a simple party line distinction.  It is clear that organizations like Complete College America and Students for Educational Reform have managed to bend the ears of legislators in both parties.  Thus, it is imperative that we stay engaged.  As we approach the fall elections, please continue to participate in the process in any way you can.  Some suggestions are listed below.

  • Continue to connect with your legislators via snail mail or email.

  • Ask your legislator to meet for coffee.

  • Invite them to visit your campus and classes in the fall and introduce them to your students.

  • Give money to developmental education-friendly candidates (and tell them who you are and what you do).

  • Knock on doors for developmental education-friendly candidates.

In short, your efforts paid off, but after this short, sweet Minnesota summer, remember that when we return to our classrooms, we all need to keep advocating for our students.  Most of us didn’t want to get into politics, but that is now the world developmental educators live in.

Many thanks for your work on behalf of developmental education students!