BISMARCK, N.D. (Dec. 31, 2018) – Gov. Doug Burgum today expressed his gratitude for the members of the K-12 Innovative Education Task Force and the Task Force for Higher Education Governance as the two groups submitted their final reports and recommendations.
Innovative Education Task Force
Burgum created the Innovative Education Task Force through an executive order in September 2017 to establish a system of identifying and supporting schools and districts implementing innovative practices. The 15-member panel also was tasked with providing direction on how state government can empower districts to adopt student-centric learning practices designed to support a 21st century economy impacted by rapid technological change.
Their final report “is a direct product of the expertise, passion, and commitment of the individuals who served” on the Task Force, said Burgum, who chaired the panel.
“It’s our hope this report sparks conversations around cafeteria tables and in classrooms across the state about how student-centric learning can best prepare our students for the rapidly evolving world they will inherit,” Burgum said. “Attending each and every meeting of the Task Force only cemented a firmly held belief that this work cannot be done alone. By fostering leadership everywhere, working as one, being student-focused and bringing a growth mindset to our work, we can truly make a difference in developing our state’s most precious resource: its young people.”
The Task Force met formally 10 times over the course of 14 months and endorsed a dozen policy recommendations, including:
- Creating a personalized graduation pathway to complement the traditional credit-hour system.
- Providing funding to establish Teacher Incentives for Leadership in Education (TILE). This program would provide career track and professional development opportunities for educators aligned to district initiatives forwarding student-centric learning – recognizing that so much of the work educators do outside of their contractual requirements currently goes uncompensated. The governor’s executive budget proposal recommends up to $10 million to create the TILE program.
- Creating and disseminating Innovation tool kits to help support districts wanting to explore more student-centered learning practices.
- Developing performance assessments to replace traditional standardized tests for state and federal accountability requirements.
- Creating a K-12 Coordinating Council to promote collaboration across all K-12 entities in North Dakota.
- Expanding behavioral health services to students through human service agencies and private providers.
- Developing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of Public Instruction and State Board of Higher Education, recognizing proficiency-based transcripts and other nontraditional assessments as equally valid as traditional measures when determining admissions.
In addition to Burgum and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler serving as ex-officio members, the Task Force members included:
- Maggie Barth, leader of the Innovation School in Bismarck
- Denise Bervig of Williston, a high school social studies teacher
- Allen Burgad of West Fargo, assistant superintendent
- Mary Jean Dehne, executive director of the nonprofit Legacy Children’s Foundation in Fargo
- Stacy Duffield of Fargo, professor of teacher education at North Dakota State University
- Jessie Erickson of Grand Forks, a parent, teacher and instructional coach
- Kathryn Froelich from Selfridge, cultural coordinator with the Missouri River Educational Cooperative
- Michael Gilbertson, secondary principal of New Salem-Almont Public School District
- Sonya Hansana, member of the Hazen school board and Oliver-Mercer special education board
- Cody Mickelson, a teacher in the Jamestown Public Schools district
- Sen. Donald Schaible of Mott, chairman of the Senate Education Committee
- Rep. Cynthia Schreiber-Beck of Wahpeton, vice-chair of the House Education Committee
- Superintendent Cory Steiner from Northern Cass
- Jeff Ubl of Bismarck, president of Übl Design Group
- Tamara Uselman, superintendent of Bismarck Public Schools
- Mark Vollmer, superintendent at Minot Public Schools, who replaced Uselman after her departure from Bismarck Public Schools.
Task Force for Higher Education Governance
Burgum created the 15-member Task Force for Higher Education Governance through an executive order in November 2017. The panel was tasked with assessing the existing governance structure for higher education in North Dakota, which has remained largely unchanged since being adopted by voters in 1938, and determining if changes are needed to ensure the system meets the state’s educational and workforce needs in the 21st century.
On Nov. 13, Task Force members voted to recommend a three-board governance model for the state’s 11 public colleges and universities as an improvement to the current single-board model. One board would govern the state’s nine regional and community institutions, and each of the state’s two research universities would have its own governing board. The final report outlines how a three-board structure would operate. The Task Force also recommends maintaining several of the features currently working within the current structure, such as transferability of credits, common course numbering, a funding formula based on credit production and some shared technology services.
“The Task Force believes that these recommendations would improve the governance structure of North Dakota higher education, allowing it to serve as a nimble and effective structure for decades to come,” the report states.
Changing the current governance structure would require voter approval of a constitutional amendment, which the Legislature could place on the ballot through a concurrent resolution. Lawmakers convene in regular session on Thursday, with Burgum delivering his State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislative Assembly at 1 p.m. in the House chamber. The address, expected to begin around 1:30 p.m., will be livestreamed on the governor’s website.
A list of the Task Force for Higher Education Governance members was included in the Nov. 13 news release here.