The Final Stretch – Keeping K to 3rd Graders in the Classroom

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Alright – so, this is the final do-or-die part of this year’s legislation. The Senate and House chairs and members are meeting in what is called conference committees. I have testified in the Education Conference Committee in what will probably be the last time we are able to testify. Below is my testimony. Fingers crossed that this bill will pass this year!

Minnesota Senate & House

Education Conference Committee

Chairs: Sen. Chamberlain and Rep. Davnie

May 13th, 2022

      Re: Keeping children in the classroom and in school; K-3 Suspension

Dear Chair Chamberlain, Davnie, and conferees,

Many thanks again for the opportunity to testify today. My name is Idil Abdull; I am a Somali autism mom and advocate.

First, I would like to thank Rep. Richardson for her relentless focus and tenacity in this issue. I come before you today to ask to keep students in the classroom to learn. I know that you all want children to succeed in school. We all want to eliminate Minnesota’s shameful education gap.

It is humanly impossible for any student to learn when they are not in school. I understand the administrators’ and principals’ perspectives in wanting to have suspension in their toolbox. I also understand teachers not being equipped to handle and just go for the low-hanging fruit which is kicking the kid out of their learning environment.

I want you all to understand these are the needs of adults. And, yes, we should support and provide needed resources to all educators, but we must, and we shall put students first. After all, education is about students, not adults who chose this profession.

What Richardson is asking is to keep young minds in the classroom to learn. These are 5- and 6-year-olds. They are babies. If we cannot come up with creative ways to teach children and help them when they make mistakes, what does that say about us?

I respectfully ask you all to put students first and above everyone. Please negotiate and find some common ground on this issue.

Thanks much as always and I look forward to a fruitful outcome this legislative session.

Idil Abdull