A group of state Democratic senators want to amend the Minnesota education statutes to mandate a “cultural competency training” on topics such as “gender identity” and “implicit bias” for all public school teachers.
According to Senate File (SF) 289, the training program would promote “self-reflection, effective interaction with people of different cultures, and discussion on all of the following topics: racial, cultural, and socioeconomic groups; American Indian students; implicit bias; systemic racism; gender identity, including transgender students; sexual orientation; language diversity; and individuals with disabilities.”
“Training programs must be designed to increase teachers’ understanding of these topics and teachers ability to implement this knowledge with students, families, and the school community,” the bill adds.
SF 289 would amend various sections of Minnesota Statutes 2018 to require that public school teachers “participated in cultural competency training” before obtaining licensure or renewal.
Additionally, the bill would require teachers to present “to their local continuing education and relicensure committee” evidence of “work that demonstrates professional reflection and growth in best teaching practices, including among other things, cultural competence.”
The bill was introduced by five DFL state senators and referred to the E-12 Finance and Policy Committee for a hearing.
A second bill pertaining to education that was recently introduced would require public and charter schools to implement “age-appropriate instruction on consent in grades 8 through 12.”
“The commissioner of education, in consultation with the Department of Health, must assist districts and charter schools in developing and implementing an affirmative consent program to prevent and reduce the incidence of sexual assault,” SF 323 states.
That bill’s lone sponsor is Sen. Patricia Torres Ray (D-Minneapolis), a co-sponsor of SF 289, who defines consent as “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.”
“It is a responsibility of each person involved in sexual activity to ensure that the other or others consent to engage in the sexual activity. Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent. Consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent,” the bill elaborates.
As funding sources, Torres Ray states that schools may accept funds for consent programs “from public and private sources, including public health funds and foundations, department professional development funds, federal block grants, or other federal or state grants.”
SF 323 was also referred to the E-12 Finance and Policy Committee for a hearing.
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