Browsing articles in "Curriculum + Standards"
Nov 14, 2012
ELW

Please Help Change Minnesota’s Social Studies Standards for the Good

Karen R. Effrem, MD – President, Education Liberty Watch

The Minnesota Department of Education is about to complete the “extreme makeover social studies standards edition” process of the well rated 2004 version. Instead of following the law which says to “revise and align” the standards, there has been a top to bottom rewriting with alarming changes in emphasis.  This process began in 2011 and we have endeavored to keep you informed:

The 2011 version, (official rule version available here and standards with benchmarks available here), is about to be put into permanent rule.  The only way to have a hope of any more influence on the final outcome is for at least 25 people to request a hearing by November 30, 2012. The actual hearing itself is scheduled for December 20th but will be cancelled if there are not enough requests.

The full details to request a hearing and or to comment on the standards are contained in the Dual Use notice.  Here are the important highlights:

  • What:Request a public hearing before the social studies standards are cemented into rule and submit comments on the social studies standards.

  • Deadline: 4:30 p.m. on Friday, November 30, 2012
  • Hearing Time, Date, & Location if 25 Requests Received: 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 20, 2012 in room CC-15, Minnesota Department of Education, 1500 Highway 36 West, Roseville, Minnesota, 55113
  • Submit Hearing requests to: Kerstin Forsythe Hahn at the Department of Education, 1500 Highway 36 West, Roseville, Minnesota, 55113, email: Kerstin.forsythe@state.mn.us. Phone (for questions):phone: 651-582-8583. TTY users may call the Department of Education at 651-582-8201.[Please forward a copy to office@edlibertywatch.org so that we may know if there are enough requests for a hearing. Also after discussions with the administrative law judge, the agency contact, and MN Senate staff, there is no requirement that hearing requests be from Minnesota residents exclusively.]
  • Parameters for Hearing Request: “You must make your request for a public hearing in writing, which the agency contact person must receive by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, November 30, 2012. You must include your name and address in your written request. In addition, you must identify the portion of the proposed rules that you object to or state that you oppose the entire set of rules. Any request that does not comply with these requirements is not valid and the agency cannot count it when determining whether it must hold a public hearing. You are also encouraged to state the reason for the request and any changes you want made to the proposed rules.” NOTE: PLEASE at a minimum, request a hearing and whether you oppose all of the standards or a certain part along with your name and address all in writing. You do not need to be a Minnesota resident to do this.
  • Parameters for Comment Submission: “You are encouraged to propose any change that you desire. You must also make any comments about the legality of the proposed rules during this comment period.  You have until 4:30 p.m. on Friday, November 30, 2012, to submit written comment in support of or in opposition to the proposed rules or any part or subpart of the rules. Your comment must be in writing and received by the agency contact person by the due date.Comments are encouraged. Your comments should identify the portion of the proposed rules addressed, the reason for the comment, and any change proposed.” NOTE: If, after you have requested a hearing, you want to submit comments, please do so. You do not have to submit extensive comments on every single standard and benchmark. You may certainly choose as few as one standard in one grade level in one subject, but PLEASE do something.
Nov 6, 2012
ELW

Presidential Candidates on Education: Families or Government in Charge?

The following statement has been attributed to Abraham Lincoln:

The philosophy of education in one generation becomes the philosophy of of government in the next.

Although education continues to be overshadowed by the economy and lately by foreign affairs such as the Benghazi debacle, it has still been discussed in the presidential campaign. The candidates discussed the federal role in education including the Common Core Standards and financing in the first debate, which I outlined in our last alert. And never has there been a more distinct contrast between the philosophies of education between the two presidential candidates.

President Obama’s approach has been unwaveringly towards big government solutions. He has consistently been in favor of more federal control and spending from cradle to college, as well as hiring more teachers and expanding federal data gathering. His administration has relentlessly pursued national standards in both preschool and K-12 via the Race to the Top grant programs as well as the No Child Left Behind waivers.  As a result he is very close to achieving federalization of curriculum, because 46-1/2 states and the District of Columbia have adopted these standards.  Nine states have federalized their preschool standards and put in place early childhood quality rating systems that will control private and religious programs as well. The administration has also increased Head Start spending despite numerous studies, including one in 2010, showing it to be a failure and GAO evidence of fraud in the program’s administration.

Governor Romney, on the other hand, except for being less forthright than he needs to be about the absolute necessity of cutting federal education spending has spoken consistently about decreasing the federal role in education. He has specifically stated that it is not the role of the federal government to promote national standards.

Most importantly, Mitt Romney has spoken of the critical importance of families and parents in the education of children, especially young children. These statements are like water in the desert for families and groups that want to see power and freedom returned to families and locally elected school boards to make education decisions.

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Oct 6, 2012
ELW

1st Presidential Debate Discussed Federal Role in Education

The first presidential debate, a decisive and widely declared victory for Mitt Romney, contained a number of illuminating moments on education.  While President Obama continued to openly display his authoritarian philosophy, Governor Romney showed the conflict in his camp and perhaps within himself personally between a strong limited government view and continued ineffective federal education spending.   Both candidates spoke about the role of government in general and in education in particular.

There was absolutely nothing new in discussions about the role of government from President Obama.  He continued his very statist approach saying:

But I also believe that government has the capacity, the federal government has the capacity to help open up opportunity and create ladders of opportunity and to create frameworks where the American people can succeed…

All those things are designed to make sure that the American people, their genius, their grit, their determination, is — is channeled and — and they have an opportunity to succeed. And everybody’s getting a fair shot. And everybody’s getting a fair share — everybody’s doing a fair share, and everybody’s playing by the same rules. (emphasis added)

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Aug 10, 2012
ELW

Education & Childcare Votes of MN Legislative Incumbents in Contested Primary Elections

INTRODUCTION: As the Minnesota legislative primary election rapidly approaches on August 14th, we thought it would be helpful for our supporters to have some idea of how legislative incumbents involved in primaries voted on bills and amendments important to academic excellence, state’s rights, and parental autonomy.  Although Education Liberty Watch followed many other bills in the last biennium other than these, the others were mostly included in large complicated omnibus bills where the impact of votes on individual components by individual legislators was much more difficult to explain.  The omnibus bills  contained provisions that our organization both opposed and supported.  Therefore, only bills or amendments that showed clear support or opposition to Education Liberty Watch principles were included.

SYMBOLS:

+ = Education Liberty Watch preferred vote

- = Education Liberty Watch opposed vote

? = Legislator was either absent or did not vote

N/A = Legislator was not elected at the time of the vote

* = House incumbent running for a senate seat

HOUSE VOTES:

 

1)      SF 1656 2)      HF 1766 3)      SF 1755 

Amend.

4)      HF 934 

Buesgens Amend.

Rating
Tom Huntley (DFL) – 7A 

(Brandon Closkey)

 

_

 

_

 

+

 

?

 

25%

*Mary Kiffmeyer (R) – 30 

(Paul Perovich)

 

+

 

+

 

+

 

+

 

100%

*Connie Doepke (R) – 33 (Dave Osmek)  

+

 

+

 

+

 

-

 

75%

Steve Smith (R) – 33B (Cindy Pugh)  

+

 

-

 

+

 

 

-

 

50%

Tim Sanders (R) – 37B (Torey Hall)  

+

 

+

 

+

 

+

 

100%

Joe Mullery (DFL) – 59A (Marcus Harcus)  

_

 

_

 

+

 

-

 

25%

 

EXPLANATION OF HOUSE VOTES:

1)      SF 1656 (HJ 9351) to require legislative approval of new standards adoptions – Authored in the House by Rep. Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton), this bill required legislative approval of new academic standards.  This is very important given both the lack of constitutionality and poor quality of the common core national standards already adopted in Minnesota in English, as well as the state developed social studies standards that are very non-academic and revisionist especially in history.  For more details, see our reviews of the social studies standards (here and here) and our discussions of this legislation (here).  Sadly, although this legislation was passed by both chambers of the legislature, it was vetoed by Governor Dayton. The Education Liberty Watch preferred vote on this legislation was “yea.”

2)      HF 1766 (HJ 5493) to prohibit union dues or fair share fees from being taken from childcare subsidy payments – Authored by Rep. Kathy Lohmer (R-Woodbury), this legislation was offered  in light of a huge push to unionize childcare workers by designating those that receive childcare subsidies as state employees, then subject to unionization.  The bill would have prevented union dues or fair share fees from being taken from these childcare subsidies for poor families, therefore keeping the cost of childcare from increasing.  Although opposition to unionization had wide polling support and this commonsense legislation was passed by both chambers of the legislature, it was vetoed by Governor Dayton, a big supporter of unionization.  The Education Liberty Watch vote on this amendment was “yea.”

3)      Petersen Amendment to the Garafolo  Amendment of SF 1755 (HJ 9336) to require a unionization election of childcare workers – In response both to the governor’s veto of HF 1766/SF 1630 to prevent union dues and fair share fees from being taken out of childcare subsidies  and to St. Paul Judge Dale Lindeman’s ruling that the Dayton executive order for a unionization election of less than half of the affected child care providers was “an unconstitutional usurpation of the Legislature’s constitutional right to make and or amend laws,” the House Republicans gave the Democrats a chance to go on record regarding the governor’s plan.  Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) offered an amendment to a bill by Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) dealing with state employee layoff policy.  The Garofalo amendment set up a childcare unionization election.  Before this was debated, Rep. Brandon Petersen (R-Andover) offered an amendment to the amendment that would have put the entire Dayton childcare union election executive order into law verbatim.  In the end, only 14 legislators, all Democrat, voted to uphold the governor’s plan, thus providing a potential appeals court with clear legislative intent that it did not support the unionization scheme. The Education Liberty Watch preferred vote on this amendment was “nay.”

4)      Buesgens Amendment to HF 934 (HJ 1638) removing the quality rating system from the omnibus education bill – This amendment to the omnibus education finance bill in 2011 offered by Rep. Mark Buesgens (R-Jordan) was to remove a statewide childcare quality rating system that would have imposed sometimes radical and indoctrinating government curricular standards on private and religious preschools, decreased parental choice for families that receive childcare subsidies, and greatly increased costs and bureaucracy for independent childcare workers and programs.  See some of our extensive discussions on this legislation and program here and here.  The Education Liberty Watch   preferred vote on this amendment was “yea.”

SENATE VOTES:

Name –Party-District-(Oppoent) 1) SF 1656 

 

2) SF 1630 3) Bonoff Amend. to SF 1030 Rating
Tom Saxhaug (DFL) – 5 (Laverne Pederson)  

-

 

-

 

-

 

0%

Michelle Fischbach (R) – 13 (Fadumo Yusuf)  

+

 

+

 

+

 

100%

Chris Eaton (DFL) – 40 (Timothy Davis)  

-

 

-

 

N/A

 

0%

Julianne Ortman (R) – 47 (Bruce Schwichtenberg)  

+

 

+

 

+

 

100%

Dick Cohen (DFL) – 64 (Alexander Jeffries)  

-

 

-

 

-

 

0%

Sandy Pappas (DFL) – 65 (Marcus Walker)  

-

 

-

 

-

 

0%

 

EXPLANATION OF SENATE VOTES:

1)      SF 1656 (SJ 4084) to require legislative approval of new standards adoptions – Authored by Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester), this bill required legislative approval of new academic standards.  This is very important given both the lack of constitutionality and poor quality of the common core national standards already adopted in Minnesota in English, as well as the state developed social studies standards that are very non-academic and revisionist especially in history.  For more details, see our reviews of the social studies standards (here and here) and our discussions of this legislation (here).  Sadly, although this legislation was passed by both chambers of the legislature, it was vetoed by Governor Dayton. The Education Liberty Watch preferred vote on this legislation was “yea.”

2) SF 1630 (SJ 5858) to prohibit union dues or fair share fees from being taken from childcare subsidy payments – Authored by Senator Ted Lillie (R-Woodbury), this legislation was offered  in light of a huge push to unionize childcare workers by designating those that receive childcare subsidies as state employees, then subject to unionization.  The bill would have prevented union dues or fair share fees from being taken from these childcare subsidies for poor families, therefore keeping the cost of childcare from increasing.  Although opposition to unionization had wide polling support and was passed by both chambers of the legislature, it was vetoed by Governor Dayton, a big supporter of unionization.  The Education Liberty Watch vote on this amendment was “yea.”

3)      Bonoff Amendment to SF 1030 (SJ 1136) to implement a statewide government controlled quality rating system – This amendment to the omnibus education finance bill in 2011 offered by Senator Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka) would have implemented a statewide childcare quality rating system that would have imposed sometimes radical and indoctrinating government curricular standards on private and religious preschools, decreased parental choice for families that receive childcare subsidies, and greatly increased costs and bureaucracy for independent childcare workers and programs.  See some of our extensive discussions on this legislation and program here and here.  The Education Liberty Watch   preferred vote on this amendment was “nay.”