Thank you for your support as the education bill has moved through the legislative process. The conference report for the education bill that we discussed in our last alert has passed both the House and Senate without any changes since that update. Please THANK the legislators that have put this bill together that contains so many great provisions as we have previously discussed and the very important ones that it does not contain, namely the quality rating system and all-day kindergarten.
Unfortunately, due to intense pressures that come from many different directions (See the whining in the Star Tribune due to the efforts of Senator Dave Thompson, Reps. Mark Buesgens and Sondra Erickson and Education Liberty Watch to stand against the QRS for an example of media pressure) at the end of the session, there are disturbing statements coming from reliable legislative sources that indicate that Governor Dayton and education commissioner Brenda Casselius are demanding the early childhood provisions, particularly the quality rating system (QRS) and all-day kindergarten and that the Republicans may agree in order to get the bill signed or in a special session. One of the justifications for demanding the QRS is that now that there is going to be $700 million more for the Race to the Top program that will now include early childhood programs and will apparently require a quality rating system.
If you wish to make your voice heard on this issue, now would be an important time to do so as there is apparently a rush to try to get this signed before Monday’s end of session (May 23rd) deadline. After thanking the Republican legislators (contact information below) that have held so strong, encourage them to continue their courageous stand by explaining why adopting the QRS would be such a bad idea and encourage them also to sign on to bills that remove the quality rating system framework from statute (HF 1019 by Reps. Mary Franson and Steve Drazkowski/SF 1299 by Senators Dave Thompson, Pam Wolf, and Roger Chamberlain):
1) The QRSs are not effective in changing program or child outcomes, are not popular with parents or providers, impose subjective and controversial standards on young children, and are bureaucratic with state control of private preschools and childcare programs that “volunteer” to be rated. (See Evidence on Effectiveness of Quality Rating Systems for details.)
2) Adopting a QRS would make it easier to impose all of the other federal control of education that comes with Race to the Top, including the national standards, for which there was bipartisan opposition last year. There is actually a provision prohibiting adoption of the national standards in this current bill by Senator David Hann and Rep. Sondra Erickson that needs to be supported.
3) The groups representing big business that should be advocating for lower taxes and free markets are demanding increased spending and expansion of government and are publicly undermining the Republican position of not increasing taxes.
4) This will be an entrée for unions to expand both for childcare workers and preschool teachers.
5) This will be a huge flip-flop after they have wisely kept the QRS out of both the education bill and the health and human services bills.
The Dayton administration also opposes the other provisions that Education Liberty Watch supports. Please consider letting the governor know that you oppose these big government education ideas. Please also consider asking the legislators to continue standing firm to delay the adoption of awful social studies standards, the prohibition of the national standards, and ask for an alternative to the state tests in the scholarship/voucher program if that provision stays in the bill.
GOVERNOR MARK DAYTON: 651-201-3400 or http://mn.gov/governor/contact-us/form/
Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch 651-296-5981 firstname.lastname@example.org
House Speaker Kurt Zellers 651-296-5502 email@example.com
House Majority Leader Matt Dean 651-296-3018 firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Gen Olson (Chairwoman) 651-296-1282 email@example.com
Representative Pat Garofalo (Chairman) 651-296-1069 firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Sondra Erickson (Policy Chairwoman) 651-296-6746 email@example.com
LEGISLATORS TO BE ESPECIALLY THANKED BESIDES THE LEADERSHIP:
Senator Dave Thompson 323 Capitol (651) 296-5252 firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Roger Chamberlain (651) 296-1253 email@example.com
Senator Pam Wolf (651) 296-2556 firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Mary Franson 651-296-3201 email@example.com
Representative Steve Drazkowski 651-296-2273 firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Mark Buesgens 651-296-5185 email@example.com
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