A group of state Minnesota Democratic senators want to mandate "cultural competency" training for all public school teachers that would include topics such as transgender students, sexual orientation and racism.
What does it cover?
Senate File 289 states that the training program would include "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."
The proposal states that the training program is intended to increase teachers' understanding and allow them to share their knowledge with students, parents and the surrounding community.
Sens. Gregory D. Clausen, Jeff Hayden, Patricia Torres Ray, Susan Kent, Steve Cwodzinski — all members of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, which acts as the Democratic Party in Minnesota — introduced the bill.
SF 289 would also amend some sections of Minnesota Statutes 2018 to require that public school teachers receive the training before they can obtain a teaching license or have their license renewed.
The bill was referred to the E-12 Finance and Policy Committee for a hearing.
Any other education-related bills?
Another education-related bill that was recently introduced, SF 323, would require schools to teach age-appropriate instruction on sexual consent for students 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.
SF 323's only sponsor is Sen. Torres Ray, who is also a co-sponsor of SF 289. Under the bill, sexual consent is defined as "affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity."
The bill states:
"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."
In the bill, Torres Ray suggests that schools could fund the proposal by accepting money "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 sent to the E-12 Finance and Policy Committee for a hearing.