While I’m concerned about the online education mandate that the Minnesota Legislature is debating, there is good news on the education front in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The Minnesota Senate last month passed Senate File 1656 which requires legislative approval before any academic standards can be implemented. Education Liberty Watch reports that the Minnesota House Education Reform Committee passed the companion to the Senate bill.
The House bill authored by Rep. Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton), chairwoman of the House Education Reform Committee, simply requires that there be approval by the people’s representatives in the legislature before the state department of education would adopt future Common Core Standards such as happened with the English language arts standards under the Pawlenty administration or the wholesale rewriting that is producing the very revisionist social studies standards being put in place by the Dayton administration. That bill passed the committee essentially on a party line voice vote (audio available here starting at about 27:28 with Dr. Effrem’s testimony at about 1:07 A written version of her similar recent Senate testimony is available here).
They also note a companion bills introduced in the House and Senate which would push back against the Obama Administration’s requirement that a state adopts the Common Core State Standards in order to receive a No Child Left Behind waiver.
The other big development is the introduction of a bill, HF 2905 by Representative Bob Barrett (R-Schafer), and SF 2928 by Senators Sean Nienow (R-Cambridge) and David Hann (R-Eden Prairie), to require the commissioner of education to seek Minnesota’s own waiver to No Child Left Behind based on the state’s needs and laws. This would be in place of the illegal, unconstitutional, conditional and temporary waiver that Minnesota received from the Obama administration, one that among its other problems, in essence requires the Common Core Standards. This bill enjoyed wide bipartisan support during the 2008 legislative session when the Democrats were in control of the legislature and passed the House floor unanimously as an amendment by Rep. Carolyn Laine (DFL- Columbia Heights) to the education finance omnibus bill. Sadly, it was removed from the omnibus bill after a veto threat by then Governor Tim Pawlenty.
We’ll watch to see how this progresses in the Minnesota House where it will likely face another veto by Governor Mark Dayton as he vetoed a similar bill last year when it was part of a omnibus education finance bill.