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Profile Repeal Passes House in Landslide

February 19, 2003

The Profile of Learning took a stunning hit in the Minnesota House of Representatives floor session on Monday when it was repealed in a landslide vote of 118 to 10. The House gallery was packed with onlookers present to observe the House repeal. While the House has repealed the Profile a total of 9 times in the previous four years, a Governor willing to sign the legislation makes this passage far more significant.

The lopsided vote was in stark contrast to the interminable attack on the repeal legislation by House DFLers prior to the vote. In the end, almost every legislator who stood to verbally oppose the measure voted to pass it.

All eyes are now on the Senate, still narrowly controlled by the DFL party. Senate Majority Leader John Hottinger has been unwilling to shake the Profile repeal out of the Senate Education Policy Committee. Steve Kelley from Hopkins is Chairman of that Committee, and he threatens to sit on the repeal until he sees what the alternatives are.

In the meantime, the looming deadlines of federal law requiring that standards be in place have forced the new Commissioner on a fast track to put replacement reading and math standards in place in time for legislative 2003 review. The House repeal legislation, HF 2, gives the Department some direction in creating those standards. Without new standards, we will simply have the Profile of Learning.

HF 2 sets parameters for knowledge-based standards that are based on objective, verifiable knowledge. By refusing to act, the Senate is leaving the elected body of legislators out of the process entirely, forcing an appointed committees to create standards without legislative direction. Sen. Kelley wants to "see what the standards are first" before repeal. That leaves the legislature out of the action.

The media are providing political cover for the Senate Profile protection strategy. Kelley's stalling is being portrayed as prudent and measured. "Fixing" the Profile has always been the media agenda, because a "fix" means keeping it essentially intact.

This is the place where a good grassroots movement shines. YOU are the solution. Here's how:

1. Write letters to the editor. Get others to write. Recognize House members for their vote. Tell the public that the Senate has ground repeal legislation to a halt and that it is voters who must shake them into action.

2. Contact your Senator. Let him or her your opinion on having fast action in the Senate before they make themselves entirely irrelevant.

3. Attend local town meetings of your legislators. If it is a House member, thank them for their actions. If it is a Senator, bring up the Profile of Learning. We are hearing reports that the issue is NOT being raised in the town meetings.

These two folks are the biggest obstacles to action to repeal the Profile.

Senate Majority Leader John Hottinger
208 State Capitol
St. Paul, MN 55155
Capitol phone: (651) 296-6153
E-mail: sen.john.hottinger@senate.mn

Sen. Steve Kelly
Senate Education Policy Committee Chair
Capitol address: 205 State Capitol
St. Paul, MN 55155
Capitol phone: (651) 297-8065
E-mail: sen.steve.kelley@senate.mn

We very much need your help. Please do your best to get others to join you.

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The roll call vote:

All House members voted to repeal the Profile except the following:
Absent: Beard, Clark, Jaros, Kahn, Mariani.
Voting no: Ellison, Hausman, Hilty, Huntley, Lesch, Murphy, Paymar, Thao, Thissen, Walker

The tally: 118 to 10

Paraphrase from debate:
Regarding standards parameters to "preserve and protect fundamental American principles stated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States and other such principles such as national sovereignty, natural law, and free market enterprise."

Leg. A: Natural law is not defined in any Minnesota law. [Editor's note: The concept of natural law has been censored from most contemporary law books.] The dictionary defines natural law as "divine truth." We all have a different idea for what divine natural law means.

Rep. Kielkucki: This relates to who we are as human beings as part of this American experiment. We need to preserve and promote what has been passed down to us. Look at the preamble to the Minnesota Constitution. You will find it there as well.

Rep. Olson: America is a country founded on a set of ideas. We unfortunately abandon our foundation just because we can't all agree. Will we all agree what "certain inalienable rights" means? No. Ought we promote and preserve the principle of certain inalienable rights? Yes.

Rep. Wagenius: For the record I want to state that we don't know what natural law means. There's nothing there and it can't be interpreted as meaning anything at all.

Rep. Greiling: I will reluctantly vote to repeal the Profile of Learning after all these years. The name "Profile of Learning" should finally be repealed because it has become a political football.

Rep. Paulson: Opposition to the Profile started out as a small group of parents and has turned into a tidal wave of parents and teachers. Two teachers have led the charge to eliminate it on a bi-partisan basis: Rep. Pelowski and Rep. Seifert.

Rep. Erhardt: One group hasn't been mentioned here in all of this debate. The Maple River Coalition. Do they support this bill? [Editor's note: This statement was intended as an attack on HF 2, but Rep. Erhardt inadvertently gave credit to the work of MREdCo. He also ultimately voted to repeal.]

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