Education Minnesota weekend: helping teachers or unnecessary break?

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Students are on the annual Education Minnesota break. The break comes every October in Minnesota as schools break to allow teachers the opportunity to hold the annual Education Minnesota Conference.

Education Minnesota estimates that 10,000 people will attend the conference, which runs through Friday, at St. Paul's downtown RiverCenter.

KARE 11 reports that Education Minnesota President Denise Specht says the conference is about helping educators prepare students for their lives beyond school.

It is impossible to tell who attends the conference or where they come from because the event is free and open to the public and there is no registration.

A Pioneer Press report said that union leaders and education advocates are unaware of another state with an event of similar size and scope, and while union officials say the conference is very important, it certainly has its critics.

State Rep. Sondra Erickson is the ranking Republican on the House Education Policy Committee, she attended the conference as an English teacher and later as a lawmaker. Erickson thinks the conference comes at a critical time of year. Erickson believes that students need to be in the classroom.

The Education Minnesota break is traditionally a Thursday and Friday in October, but some districts extend the break by adding in conferences or other training.

Specht says the conference happens at the perfect time, because it allows teachers to put new skills to use right away.

There are no signs the conference will end soon, as the the union has booked the weekends through 2022.

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