November 17, 2000
CFL Has Been Misleading the Public & the Legislature on Federal Mandates for Years
"Since the [federal] Title I statute requires the adoption of the state standards and the accompanying
assessments, Title I schools must participate in both components of the assessment system."
Department of Children, Families and Learning (CFL).
In a memo sent out to all superintendents and charter school directors just after the election,
CFL has confirmed that the Profile of Learning (Minnesota's Goals 2000 and School-to-Work)
is a federal mandate on Minnesota and that the CFL has been informed of this by federal administrators
annually since the spring of 1995!!! (The exact language of the memos will follow in our next e-mail.)
The CFL has very bluntly issued a directive to all Minnesota local districts that they must either
"choose" to require, score and report the Profile standards of reading, language arts and mathematics
or they will lose ALL Title I (federal) money to their schools. The federal mandate includes
PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENTS (packages) as the required method of assessment.
What an incredible outrage!!! The CFL has been officially and adamantly denying a federal mandate
to the public, to the media and to Minnesota legislators since its inception!
For the third time in three months, the CFL is giving districts the option to "rethink" their decision to
reduce the number of required content standards. (This includes over 85% of all districts in Minnesota.)
This is like the federal government telling a state that they can set a speed limit of 65 if they want to,
but they won't get any money for highways unless it is set at 55.
The first deadline was set by the legislature for August 15th. Districts were given the option of reducing the
monolith by scoring and reporting fewer standards even though they still have to implement them all.
This option was given to them in statute in the last session.
The media, the CFL and proponents of this system all touted the new "flexibility" of the system including
the elimination of the requirement to use performance assessments (packages).
CFL then extended the August 15th deadline to October 15th for districts to decide their number of required
standards. During that period of time, CFL MEEP coordinators went to the districts and told them that they
may lose state and federal funding. The intimidation did not work, and 23 additional districts elected to reduce
the number of standards they would require.
The newest deadline has now begun November 13th and is extended to December 5th. "Commissioner Jax
has extended the OPPORTUNITY [emphasis ours] for amending the Minnesota Profile of Learning Content
Standards Report to reflect the requirement." Once again we get double-speak.
The memo indicates that the Title I provision has been a federal requirement SINCE 1995, yet the CFL
never breathed a word of it until districts, given the opportunity, started to shed the Profile content standards.
Title I began in 1965 as the "War on Poverty" and has mushroomed into major federal funding of schools.
Title I provides funds for low income and special education students. Almost all schools receive Title I funds.
MrEdCo and thousands of education activists have told legislators over and over again that the Profile is a
federally mandated, radical redefinition of education. We have been called misinformed and ignorant by
legislators, educators, and state and federal bureaucrats, both privately and publicly, in legislative hearings,
in the media and in published information. Over and over the propaganda machine has repeated that the
Profile is local. Every state is told their system is local, but they all look remarkably the same.
Since the federal government is prohibited by the U.S. Constitution from involving itself with state education
policy and curriculum, state legislators are now faced with the fact that their year 2000 legislation that provides
local Minnesota school districts with limited wiggle room in implementing the Profile of Learning has been
undermined by FEDERAL law.
In fact, new language inserted into Minnesota statute this past session states:
"School districts are not required to adopt specific provisions of the Goals 2000 and the federal
The author of that language is Rep. Bob Ness. He inserted it into statute to assure the public that the
Profile is NOT a federal mandate. That language was offensive because we knew very well that the entire
Profile of Learning was driven by both federal Goals 2000 and School-to-Work 1994 legislation.
Now it is time for the legislators to make good on their words. If districts are "not required," then the
Department of CFL must be immediately reined in and the federal government notified that the state
legislature has sole authority over education policy, that the Minnesota legislature has acted, and that
by challenging Minnesota policy, federal agencies are in violation of the U.S. Constitution, the highest law
of the land.