State data from 2013 shows 20 percent of teacher candidates failed the reading, writing and math test currently in place. Among minority teacher candidates, failure rates were significantly higher.
Districts around the state have taken different approaches to making up school days lost because of weather cancellations. Some added class time on days set aside for teacher development. Several districts were open on Presidents Day, a traditional day off for students. Rural districts with four-day weeks have added the occasional fifth day.
The students, two of whom were in wheelchairs, spent about 20 minutes outside while firefighters battled the fire, according to the Osseo school district.
About 60,000 students qualify for lunches at a reduced price of 40 cents apiece. The bill sponsored by state Rep. Yvonne Selcer, DFL-Minnetonka, would cover that cost for families.
Union officials say 95 percent of teachers voted in favor of the deal. The St. Paul school board will vote on the contract March 18.
The union has postponed a strike authorization vote and suspended its "work to rule" action after today's talks.
Union and district officials have met 14 times since May without reaching agreement on a pay and benefits package for teachers. The sides are meeting today for their third session with a state mediator.
Superintendent Valeria Silva says the district is moving funds around to pay for many of the proposals teachers and the district wanted. But she admits not all of the issues that were on the negotiating table are in the agreement.
St. Paul teachers had threatened to strike over class sizes, testing and support staff levels. During the nine-month talks, district officials said they agreed with those issues, but that implementing all would be too expensive.
The two sides will meet in a 12-hour negotiation session ahead of a planned strike vote on Monday. Both sides say they hope to work out an agreement and avert a strike.
The graduation rate for all Minnesota students in 2013 was 79.5 percent, up nearly two percentage points over the year before.
Union officials said a move by the school board Tuesday night left them hopeful that teachers and the district could make progress during Thursday's talks and possibly avert a strike.
State education officials say more Minnesota high school students are taking Advanced Placement courses - and qualifying for college credit -- than ever before.
Chris Coleman told lawmakers a strike would keep students out of class after already missing five days of school in January because of cold weather. "To lose a couple months, it would just set us back so much so far."
The numbers come after Minnesota's educators have tried to improve test scores among African American, Latino, Asian and Native American students, with mixed results. Now, three quarters of Minnesota school districts are meeting, or are just a few points shy of meeting, the goals the state has set.