PAUL, MINN. — A bipartisan group of Minnesota lawmakers is considering a bill to modernize the state’s education system by giving districts and individual schools the freedom to employ competency-based education (CBE) that promises to equip graduates to succeed in a rapidly changing economy.
S.F. 485, chiefly authored by Sen. Carla Nelson, explicitly permits a school or school district or charter school to adopt a locally developed CBE plan.
Terrance Sullivan, Director of State Policy at KnowledgeWorks, a national education foundation headquartered in Cincinnati, testified before a senate committee that competency-based education has already been employed to great success in some Minnesota school districts.
“Students in these environments have shown an ability to deeply comprehend rigorous concepts and standards and can translate what they learn in school to the real world,” he said.
KnowledgeWorks is working with Education Evolving to help districts in Minnesota shift to competency-based education. KnowledgeWorks is building on its experience in neighboring North Dakota, where it is supporting policy development, planning and implementation of personalized CBE reform statewide.
The importance of the proposed Minnesota law lay in codifying the reform for future generations, Sullivan said, ensuring they have the flexibility to innovate.
Jason Berg, Executive Director of Educational Service at Farmington Area Public Schools, wrote in a letter of support that “rapid and ever-increasing pace of change” means graduates need much more than the knowledge they accumulated in school.
“Personalized-Competency Based Learning is a pathway for students to develop and apply, not only the knowledge, but the skills needed to create their own future,” he wrote.