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Franken wants federal money spent to train school principals

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Sen. Al Franken
Sen. Al Franken wants federal education money to be spent to train school principals.
MPR Photo/Laura Gill

U.S. Senator Al Franken says next year's re-writing of the No Child Left Behind education law should include more money to train school principals.

The DFL-er has introduced legislation that would establish federal grants to pay for an apprentice program that places aspiring or current principals in high-need schools.  

"The effectiveness of principals in high-risk or high-need schools is one of the primary determinants of whether these schools are able to attract and retain effective teachers," he said, in an interview.

Franken's bill doesn't specify how much money would be spent on the training, but he argues federal money should be used because states don't typically fund these kinds of programs.

"Right now, states are really behind the 8-ball on funding.  And if you're talking about a 21st Century economy, the best investment is in education and schools."

The proposal would place the principals with mentors for the first year before they assume full responsibilities of the job.  The senator says aspects of his plan is modeled after a principals academy in Minnesota.

Franken says he hopes the language works its way into whatever education law is created next year to replace or extend No Child Left Behind.