January 24, 2001

MAPLE RIVER EDUCATION COALITION CALLS ALARM!

The Maple River Education Coalition is issuing a full-scale alarm!

What is taking place at our Capitol is nothing less than widespread
attack from all angles on education, parenting, privacy, taxation and
our ability to choose how e earn a living. So many committees are
meeting at the same time that the public has little chance of keeping
abreast of what is taking place.

You must understand that our legislators have yet to allow one hearing
where parents and the general public can give their testimony on any of
these issues! Only the advocates of the programs, the Early Care and
Education Finance Commission and the Department of Children, Families
and Learning (DCFL), have been invited to present their side.

This is absolutely unacceptable in representative government! Why are
the taxpayers relegated to the very end, when legislators will be
exhausted on the issues?

1. DCFL ADMITS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS CALLING THE SHOTS
The DCFL knew that any district that opted not to use "packages"
(performance based assessments) as last year's Profile "fix-it" bill
allowed, would not be in compliance with Goals 2000 and would also
lose their federal funding.

Four hearings over the last two weeks have brought to light the fact
that the DCFL has known since 1995 that the Profile of Learning is
Minnesota's Goals 2000 plan and that failure to follow all of the
federal criteria will result in loss of federal funding for education.

The DCFL, with full knowledge that schools would lose all their Title I
money if they did not require the math and reading standards under the
Profile, were silent as the legislature passed legislation last year
giving districts the right to choose the standards they would require
and report. (Title I money is for students with special needs, and
distributed on the basis of free and reduced lunches in the district.)

(To see the federal Title I law mandating Profile Content Standards:
http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/20/6311.html)

The DCFL also knew that if districts used nationally norm-referenced
tests to assess their students, they would be out of compliance. The
only tests that meet federal requirements are the Minnesota
Comprehensive Assessments. These tests are not used for individual
student promotion or remediation. Students test for days and days to
provide proof to the federal government that the SCHOOL DISTRICT is
teaching Goals 2000! Students under the Profile of Learning are not
given even one test from K -12 that they must PASS.

Once again, the education committee has not allowed any public
testimony. Only the DCFL has been asked to speak. I have personally
sat through two hearings and I am appalled at the fact that the DCFL
has not been held accountable in any way. Title I money represents
$88 million dollars of federal aid. Legislators should only accept
federal dollars that allow Minnesota to set its own education policy.
If Minnesota needs this federal money so badly, how can they be
proposing a $1 billion dollar Baby Ed program?

2. BABY ED
Through scare tactics about a "child care crisis" and a shotgun
approach of articles and "independent" studies on childcare and brain
research, the DCFL has used the media to promote the radical expansion
of the "cradle to grave human resource system" for children from
conception to kindergarten.

With the use of taxpayer dollars, the DCFL commissioned firms to
provide studies supporting the Baby Ed program. The DCFL provided the
outcomes that it wished the firms to report. These reports have been
showing up and quoted daily on radio, television and in the newspapers.
(For example, see "No Better Time: Starting Early for School Success,
"http://children.state.mn.us/)

These reports are based on false information about brain research,
parenting, children coming to school "ready to learn," childcare being
essential for children and the idea that center-based child care is
what most parents want. Proponents are asking the legislators for
$1 billion over the next two years. This represents a 12.5% increase
in total education spending for this program alone!
(See our update: http://www.mredco.com/Baby%20Ed%202.html)

The Legislative Audit on Baby Ed that the DCFL did not HAVE input into
indicates that there is little conclusive evidence that the program
will be effective. (See the legislative Auditors Report:
http://www.auditor.leg.state.mn.us/ped/pedrep/0101toc.htm.)

Please ask yourself if you should be required to allow the DCFL into
your home for family visits. Should your daycare provider be forced
to teach an actual curriculum modelled after the philosophy of the
Profile of Learning to your babies?

Should taxpayer money be used to pay parents to take their children to
daycare rather than stay home with them? Should daycare be
institutionalized through large infant learning centers with
centralized government parenting? Should the government have the right
to mandate that businesses pay a subsidy to parents who take voluntary
parental leave? Finally, if parents on maternity leave also accept
federal subsidy during that time, will they want to comply with the
federal parenting outcomes and supervision that comes with it?

(For specifics on the Baby Ed proposal, see "The Action Plan for Early
Care and Education in Minnesota," by the Early Care and Education
Finance Commission, November, 2000; or, "Early Childhood
Indicators, http://cfl.state.mn.us/ecfi/EARLYCHI.PDF)

3. CENTRALIZED GOVERNMENT EDUCATION THROUGH CENTRALIZED TAX COLLECTION
Perceived as one of the most benign issues surrounding education, that
will, in reality, have one of the most profound impacts, is the
Governor's Big Plan. His plan includes centralizing the collection of
all dollars for education at the state level. The $900 million that is
collected locally through property taxes at the district level would
now be obtained through a sales tax on business services. The new sales
tax on services will garner far in excess of the $900 million the
governor claims is needed.

WE MUST UNDERSTAND: to shift our education tax payment from the local
level to the state will spell the END OF ANY REMAINING LOCAL CONTROL
of education! Districts will literally be starved to death
financially if they do not follow the DCFL and federal mandates to
the letter of their decree. The Title I issue alone is proof that
the planners of the new system mean business and you WILL comply.

We realize that the tax burden to farmers is unbearable and that the
tax system must be restructured. However, we must not, in our weakest
moments give in to allowing the state to hold the purse strings on
every dollar that comes into our districts. Legislators and school
boards must not buy into the rhetoric that the state can actually
control all the money and still allow local control. This is not
possible.

Centralized state tax collection does NOT eliminate local levies and
referendums which will rapidly raise taxes again for farmers and for
all of us. If your district is in need of money, don't think that
there will be help from the state. Your district must go back to the
local property taxpayer and pass a referendum. The public is being
duped by a clever marketing strategy that claims "the state will pay
for education" to "lower your property tax." We will all end up
paying twice under this plan. Remember, $900 million from the state
is still our taxpayer money.

4. THE NEW WORKFORCE TRAINING SYSTEM FOR EVERYONE
We knew it was coming, but we did not know how soon. This is the
year that the entire workforce training system is to be radically
restructured. In the past, the state administered the Dislocated
Workers Fund, assisting about 5% of the working population. The
plan is to do away with this fund and begin a new bureaucracy of
overseeing the training of 95% of the workforce! That includes all
of us!

This is the system that Marc Tucker spoke of in his book "Thinking
for a Living."
(http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0465085571/qid=980189928/sr=
1-4/ref=sc_b_4/107-8276100-6466148.
Use entire address from both lines.) This is the system that he
referred to in his famous "Dear Hillary" letter
(http://mredcopac.org/tucker.htm).

Governor Ventura used the Governor's Workforce Development Council
(GWDC) to rubber-stamp this plan almost two years ago. The plan was
submitted to the GWDC in its final draft without their ever being part
of it. The plan was developed by the Governor and his "mini-council"
from exact language given to them by the Federal Government under the
Workforce Investment Act of 1998.
(See Workforce Investment Act of 1998:
http://usworkforce.org/asp/act.asp
Minnesota's federally mandated Workforce Plan:
http://usworkforce.org/asp/planstatus.asp)

Do you know that no funding is being requested from the legislature for
this huge workforce takeover system? We know that the funding will
begin with the current .07% tax that is being collected from
businesses, previously used for the Dislocated Worker program, and
it will go up from there. This cost, of course, will be passed along
to the consumer. (See the Governor's Workforce Development Plan -
February 2000, "Minnesota World Competitor!":
http://www.gwdc.org/news/index.htm)

All placement of the entire workforce will be done through a new system
of partnerships between government, business and schools. Career
tracking will be done from the cradle (through the new Baby Ed program)
to the grave (through continual "skills credentialing.") Skills
certificates will be issued to workers as they are trained for specific
jobs to meet the needs of the marketplace. When the marketplace no
longer bears a need for their skill, the worker will be retrained. All
career choices must be government approved and certified! No one will
be educated outside the skills necessary for their predetermined career
paths.

Sound too alarming to believe? Believe it. You can visit the federal
Department of Education website and see what career clusters have
been identified for Minnesota.
(http://www.ed.gov/pubs/Standards/attach_d.html)

Then go to the DCFL website and look at what they are doing with
teacher licensure:
(http://cfl3.state.mn.us/stw/stateaddress8.html)
The clusters identified for Minnesota on the federal Department of
Education website are exactly the same careers that the DCFL is
asking for teacher certification for!

In 1998, under the federal Carl D. Perkins Act, Minnesota submitted a
plan to the federal government to transform its traditional vocational
education into vocational education for ALL.
http://www.grantsplus.mnscu.edu/Perkins/StatePlan/TableOfContents.html
Especially, Appendix A:
http://www.grantsplus.mnscu.edu/Perkins/StatePlan/AppendixA.html

Right now, quietly and without the knowledge of most Minnesotans, the
DCFL is going through the rulemaking process to license teachers who
have no academic baccalaureate degrees. They are going to license
people off the street with experience in the career clusters that have
been predetermined for Minnesota. Students will have their day
transformed exponentially from academics to job training and they will
be tracked into those careers. This is being legitimized by using the
excuse that there is a teacher shortage.

IN SUMMARY:
Do you know that this radical restructuring of education, the workforce
and family life itself has all come through federal programs that have
been offered to our state through grants and entitlements? When the
money is offered, Minnesota has only a 20-day window of opportunity to
reject or question them. If they are not rejected or inquired about
during that 20-day period, the money automatically comes, and we are
bound by the requirements.

The DCFL has been writing for the grants and receiving the
entitlements. The only ones who can object to their coming to us, with
all of their strings and mandates, is the Speaker of the House, the
Chair of the Ways and Means Committee or the Chair of the K-12 Finance
Committee, and they must do so within the 20 day period. Did these
people know this when Goals 2000, the Carl D. Perkins money and the
School-to-Work money were offered to us? Did they know what they were
agreeing to by acceptance of the money? Are they going to begin
taking this responsibility seriously? They certainly cannot rely on
the DCFL who has begun to act independently of the legislature.

Maple River Education Coalition is providing information to
legislators, Congressmen and man across the nation every day. We have
been extremely instrumental in exposing the lies, the federal takeover
and the invasion into the family unit itself. This letter to you is a
full-scale alarm.

Thank you very much.

Renee T. Doyle,
President
Maple River Education Coalition

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