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Classroom Cellphone Restrictions and Book Bans Ban Passed in Minnesota Session

Minnesota Legislature passes new education policies including curbing student cellphone use, "ban" on book bans, and protections for student journalists.

The Minnesota Legislature has passed new education policies that will have a significant impact on schools in the state. While the education bill may not directly affect school funding due to the state budget passed last year, it does allocate tens of millions of additional dollars to support new training mandates and initiatives, particularly in literacy education.

One key change is the requirement for Minnesota schools to adopt a policy on student cellphone use by next spring. This provision aims to address the issue of cellphones distracting students in the classroom and has received bipartisan support. Additionally, public libraries are now prohibited from removing materials based on viewpoints or ideas, a measure known as the "ban on book bans."

Another important provision protects student journalists from school interference in determining content for school-sponsored media. The law prohibits discipline or retaliation against students for their journalistic work and offers specific protections for press freedom. However, there are limitations, such as content that disrupts school activities or incites lawless action.

The education bill also allocates funding for teacher training programs, including the Read Act, which focuses on literacy instruction. The additional funding will help teachers receive training in evidence-based approaches to improve reading outcomes among students. Additionally, a pilot program to address chronic absenteeism in schools is being established, with districts implementing new practices to prevent student absenteeism.

Furthermore, funding for voluntary pre-kindergarten programs will be expanded to accommodate over 5,000 new seats, bringing the total to more than 12,000. Overall, the new education policies aim to improve student learning outcomes, support teacher training, protect student press freedom, and address key issues affecting schools in Minnesota.

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