Bipartisan Support for Education Transformation Plan Grows in Minnesota

Topics: Education Policy

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.

About KnowledgeWorks

KnowledgeWorks is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing personalized learning that empowers all students to take ownership of their success.

With more than 50 professionals working in 11 states, KnowledgeWorks is uniquely positioned to transform cradle to career education because we’re the only organization that simultaneously engages in strategic forecasting, governmental advocacy and working directly with schools. Throughout our 20-year history, we’ve been passionate about collaborating to create a system-wide approach that grows and sustains student-centered practices – all to equip learners for career and life success.

Through customized professional development, in-depth research such as forecasts on the future of learning and federal education policy guidance and state-level ESSA implementation support, KnowledgeWorks has created opportunities for more than 135,000 students in 20 states through competency-based learning and early