Reading around in Greater Minnesota newspapers, Bluestem paused at this item in Sauk Centre Herald staff writer Randy Olson's profile of Dean Simpson, Lt. Governor candidate paying attention to rural Minnesota:
A few priority areas Simpson points to include housing in rural Minnesota and promoting high-technology and manufacturing jobs.
"Look around small towns in rural Minnesota and you'll find tremendous job opportunities with robotics, welding, CNC routing and laser-cutting. Our schools offer A.P. credits for English, math and history, but why not A.P. credits for manufacturing jobs?" asked Simpson.
"I have no problem with kids getting four-year B.A. degrees, but many of them have a hard time finding work. We need to do a better job promoting the jobs in rural Minnesota with strong pay scales that kids can get without being saddled with the debt of a four-year degree."
We're not sure what the Minnesota conservatives who decried School-To-Works programs as an evil new paradigm with "job training as the primary goal of public education" would think of that.
But all right-wing paranoia aside, we think that while Simpson's intention is probably for the best, he's simply unaware that the College Board program for Advanced Placement probably isn't the best model for what he's trying to achieve.
He should probably bone up on a 2012 change in Minnesota's Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) system: the inclusion of Career and Technical Education programs for qualified high school students beginning in 10th grade:
In 2012, new legislation (Minn. Stat. § 124D.09), was passed that allows eligible 10th-grade students to enroll initially in one Career and Technical Education (CTE) course through PSEO. If the student earns a “C” or higher grade in this first course, she/he is eligible to take additional CTE courses while in 10th grade. In order to be eligible, a 10th-grade student must have taken the 8th-grade MCA reading test in the 8th-grade, and have met the composite proficiency level of “meets or exceeds”.
If the student meets this standard, and if they meet specific CTE course eligibility requirements and pre-requisites set by the institution, they may be eligible to enroll in Career and Technical Education PSEO courses. This Grade 10 option is only open to Minnesota public school students. View the MNSCU policy and procedures for PSEO.
Many two- and four-year colleges and universities in Minnesota offer online courses and some of them offer online degrees and certificates. Through the wide array of online courses offered in Minnesota higher education it is possible for PSEO students in our state to complete the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum requirements and/or other courses that could result in an award in addition to their high school diploma.
Interested students who are enrolled in a district or an American Indian-controlled tribal contract school should contact the eligible postsecondary institution to find out what Career and Technical Education courses are offered and what the application process is at that institution. Find the college that offers the career and technical programs you are interested in on the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) site.
As the Fergus Falls Daily Journal reported in 2012, sophomores can only take career and technical cources, rather than the general liberal arts courses open to junionrs and seniors.
There's no need for "Advanced Placement" when qualifying Minnesota high school students can avail themselves of taxpayer-funded PSEO classes at no cost to their families. There's even a limited mileage reimbursement program for low income students to take advantage of the opportunity.
The list of schools offering PSEO includes technical colleges, two OICs and one private tech school, in addition to more traditional public and private two and four year colleges.
One would think that Team Zellers would want to take credit for the expansion of PSEO to officer more career and technical opportunities; afterall, the law passed under Zellers' watch as Speaker.
On the other hand, the House (HF2025) and Senate (SF1531) language to expand PSEO programs that were folded into the omnibus education bill ( see note at end of Senate Actions on SF1531) was firmly bipartisan and Governor Dayton signed the bill.
And no AP test fees payable to the College Board either.
The Center for School Change has more in CSC’s Paj Ntaub joins Gov. Dayton in ceremony expanding PSEO to include career and technical courses.
Photo: In 2012, Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill expanding PSEO to include career and technical courses. Via the Center for School Change.
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