Minnesota Repeals
so-called "Profiles of Learning"

[Comment: the following email from Betty Peters tells of a stunning turn-around in Minnesota, a victory of honest education.  Much yet to be done, but this is progress...!  I leave the original message unchanged, with comments in brackets.   E. Fox]

 

This is thrilling. Sen. Bachman was one of the leaders of this grassroots
movement in Minnesota called the Maple River Coalition, or Mr Ed Co for
short. They have been to AL several times for EF meetings, and their book,
FED ED, is excellent. I have it and recommend it highly. Bachman ran for
the Senate 2 years ago and has been instrumental in exposing their Profiles
and defeating them in the legislature.
I'd say without hesitation that this group is on the cutting edge of
education research and are about the best in getting information out. We
owe them a lot and let's rejoice in their victory.
Betty


----- Original Message -----
From: "MREdCo" <mapleriv@prairie.lakes.com>
To: <mapleriv@prairie.lakes.com>
Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2003 9:46 PM
Subject: MN's Profile of Learning Repealed


> Maple River Education Coalition
> 1402 Concordia Avenue
> St. Paul, MN 55144
> 651-646-0646
> http://www.edwatch.org
>
> May 20, 2003
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------
> MN's Profile of Learning Repealed!
> Victory Celebration at the Capitol
>
> Minnesotans who opposed the Profile of Learning will be
> gathering at the St. Paul Capitol Rotunda Thursday, the 22nd from
> 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. to celebrate the hard fought repeal of
> Minnesota's Profile of Learning! The Profile of Learning incorporated
> the national standards, the federal curriculum, throughout its
> expectations and tests in accordance with federal law.
>
> At 3:00 a.m. last Saturday morning the MN House/Senate
> conference committee reached their agreement on a repeal of the
> Profile. Last night, the Profile of Learning repeal passed the Senate,
> and then the House, just before the midnight adjournment deadline
> for the 2003 regular session. The Governor is expected to sign the
> repeal into law.
>
> It was truly a historic day, as 64 Senators voted for the repeal.
> Only Senators Pogemiller, Chaudhary and Moua voted no. Senator
> Pogemiller, chief architect and defender of the Profile, clung to it to
> the end.
>
> The House voted 125 to 9 to repeal. Opponents were Reps
> Bernardy, Clark, Greiling, Hausman, Kahn, Mariani, Thao, Wagenius,
> and Walker. Some of the debate was classic.
>
> Senator Bachmann: "Senator Kelley, I notice that when the House
> passed the Profile last February, the parameters for the new
> standards required that they be based on factual, objective,
> verifiable knowledge. This bill has removed the words factual
> and verifiable. Senator Kelly, why would you remove those
> requirements from the standards?"
>
> Senator Kelley: "Senator Bachmann, when students are learning to
> write they are learning a skill. A skill isn't factual or verifiable."
>
> Senator Bachmann: "Senator Kelley, I also notice that the House
> parameters for the standards required that they preserve and
> promote fundamental American principles as stated in the
> Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the
> United States. This bill has removed the words 'preserve and
> promote' and the 'Declaration of Independence.' Senator Kelly,
> why would you remove the Declaration of Independence
> from the standards?"
>
> Senator Kelley: "Sen. Bachmann, the Declaration has no legal
> status in defining people's rights and privileges."
>
> Bachmann: "Sen. Kelley, what do we celebrate every 4th of July?
> The Declaration defines our rights and our freedom. I am
> shocked that you would remove that as a basis of our
> education standards."

[[COMMENT: It would be more accurate for Kelley to say that, yes, the Declaration is a part of our law, but that he would rather that it not be (and then be asked to explain why).   The Declaration is not statutory law, nor in the Constitution, but it is a part of what legal folks call "organic utterances", documents, speeches, etc., which as a part of our organic history, help us understand what the meaning of our legal system is.  The Magna Carta would be an example.  Courts often appeal to such "organic" materials because no legal system can be understood apart from its historical context.]]

> In fact, in a shocking conference committee subterfuge, Senator
> Kelley had at one point literally deleted ALL of the standards'
> parameters, without the knowledge or consent of the House conferees.
> Those parameters were the core of the House repeal effort, because
> they defined how the new standards would be different from the Profile
> standards.
>
> At about 1:00 a.m. that Saturday morning, as the conferees were
> ready to adopt their agreement, MREdCo PAC testified to the committee
> that without these parameters, we could not recommend the bill. Only
> then did the House members recognize the parameters were missing.
>
> The House protested that their agreement left the parameters
> in the bill. Sen Kelley denied it had been part of their agreement.
After
> nearly two hours behind closed doors, the two sides agreed to put
> SOME of the parameters back in the bill. But Senator Kelley's line in
> the sand was "promoting and preserving the Declaration of Independence."
> He would have none of it.
>
> If we ever wondered what this education battle is about, Senator
> Kelley made it clear. Promoting and preserving the Declaration,
> natural law, national sovereignty (both found within the Declaration) and
> free market enterprise were all words he insisted would remain OUT of
> the parameters of our education standards. This incident demonstrates
> that the battle we face is only begun with this victory repeal.
>
> PROFILE GONE
> The Profile of Learning system of education in Minnesota is gone.
> The federal curriculum of the Profile is no longer required. Performance
> assessments are not required. A system of credit for high school
> graduation replaces the Profile performance assessments. The rubrics
> grading system is gone. Diversity training is no longer part of the state
> standards.
>
> Does this mean that academic, knowledge-based education
> will miraculously appear full bloom in all Minnesota public schools
> next Fall? No, it does not. But we are heading in that direction.
>
> WHAT DIDN'T WE GET
> The new math and language-arts standards could be stronger.
> The Commissioner travelled the state with the first draft of those
standards,
> and they underwent substantial revisions. Phonics, spelling and math
> became weaker. The new standards take a tremendous step, however,
> toward re-establishing knowledge-based education in Minnesota.
>
> Withdrawing from NCLB was not on the legislator's table. For
> fear of losing federal money, the massive system of annual testing in
> grades 3-8 and once in high school is underway in MInnesota
> beginning in the 2005/2006 school year. Legislation for a cost analysis
> of implementing NCLB is still in the education policy omnibus bill that
> wasn't completed. That item may be taken up in the Special Session.
>
> Because Minnesota remains under the mandates of NCLB,
> schools that do not test at least 95% of students will be identified as
> "failing." For this reason, schools may now assign "consequences" to
> test taking. Schools may choose to use test results as one measure
> of passing. Schools may also choose to put test scores on transcripts.
>
> WHAT LIES AHEAD
> In many ways, the battle now shifts to the local level. Districts
> are free to determine their standards for all curriculum except math,
> language arts, science, and social studies. There will be statewide
> tests to meet the testing requirements of No Child Left Behind in math,
> language-arts and science. There will be no statewide annual tests
> in any other area.
>
> The Commissioner will make a recommendation next year
> for exit exams in certain areas.
>
> New state standards must be developed in science and social
> studies. Annual tests (MCAs) aligned with the new academic
> standards of math and language arts must be developed. New
> teacher training requirements must be drafted to align them with the
> academic expectations.
>
> In short, this bill has set Minnestoa on a road. It provides the
> vehicle and the map. But there are enormously rocky ways ahead.
> The new standards and tests will be in constant conflict with the
> drive for the federal content, the federal curriculum, the redefining
> of our principles of freedom and the undermining of genuine
> education. This victory does not eliminate School-to-Work, which
> appears to be moving ahead with breakneck speed.
>
> Stay tuned.
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