Browsing articles in "Assessments + Testing"
Oct 26, 2010
ELW

Kindergarten Readiness: A Useless and Dangerous Concept

The usual big government, control our children from birth crowd constantly harp at parents and policymakers that fifty percent of Minnesota children come to school not prepared or not fully prepared for kindergarten.  They say that only a massive expansion of government money and control will solve this “crisis.”

The Scholar’s Notebook blog reported on a candidate forum in Senate District 43 held on October 18th where early childhood issues were discussed.  I attended that forum and heard incumbent Democrat Rep. John Benson dutifully chanted that exact meme that 50% of Minnesota children were not prepared for kindergarten, that it is a crisis, and that the state needs to provide more funding for early childhood programs. Continue reading »

Apr 30, 2010
ELW

House Committee Rejects Common Core and Race to the Top

As the House education bill was being crafted and debated, EdWatch is extremely glad to announce that both major Republican gubernatorial candidates (Rep. Tom Emmer and Rep. Marty Seifert) understand the freedom priorities of sovereignty, local control, and academic excellence. Both have signed on to the bill authored by Rep. Gene Pelowski and Senator David Hann – HF 3677/SF 3181– to prohibit Minnesota’s involvement in Race to the Top.

In an ironic, complicated and mostly party line vote, a package of reforms from Governor Pawlenty that included adoption of the Common Core Standards without public comment that we warned about in our last alert and that was proposed to help strengthen Minnesota’s second round application for Race to the Top grants was rejected on April 28th by the House K-12 Finance Committee.  This vote occurred as the committee put together their final omnibus education finance and policy bill. Continue reading »

Apr 22, 2010
ELW

Horrific Common Core Standards Move Forward

The Common Core Standards have finished the public comment phase and are now undergoing final revisions.  There has been much criticism of them from individuals and groups, both parents and experts, across the country.

The following testimony was prepared for the Minnesota House Education Policy Committee informational meeting on the Common Core Standards Initiative that was held April 7th.  Due to time constraints, not all of Dr. Effrem’s testimony was given.  The audio is available here (Follow link for April 7, 2010 hearing starting at 1:29:45).

Much alarm was raised by all of the testifiers that included two outside experts  intimately involved in the development of Minnesota’s nation leading math standards, Dr. Larry Gray of the University of Minnesota and Ellen Delaney, a veteran math teacher, about the math standards.  Minnesota Department of Education staff raised some concerns about the English standards, but not enough in our view, especially when compared to the written comments of national experts.  No teachers or others involved with the development of the English standards post Minnesota’s disastrous Profile of Learning testified at the hearing. Continue reading »

Mar 19, 2010
ELW

Minnesota Legislators Resist Race to the Top

As the Common Core Standards have finally become available for public comment, resistance from all points on the political and philosophical spectrum to both Race to the Top and the imposition of national standards has increased.

Using Minnesota as an example, while the teachers’ union has consistently opposed legislation that will call for alternative teacher licensure, another of RTTT’s many components, legislators of both parties are increasingly alarmed at the unconstitutional nature of the mandates, the loss of state sovereignty, the absolute requirement of national standards, and the costs of implementation.  Led by Representative Gene Pelowski (D-Winona), a strong and consistent opponent of the No Child Left Behind law, he has been joined by Republican co-authors Mark Buesgens, Kurt Zellers, Dean Urdahl, and Dan Severson in introducing HF 3677. It is important to note the Rep. Zellers is the House minority leader who had originally signed a letter of support for the grant application in an effort to try to redeem some of the heavy tax burden sent to Washington on behalf of Minnesota’s schools and their many innovative programs. Now, however, he has become concerned with the loss of control, the mandates, and the implementation costs. Eden Prairie Republican Senator David Hann, also a long-time fierce and principled foe of unconstitutional federal interference into education, introduced the Senate bill, SF 3181. Continue reading »

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