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Bachmann Bill to Opt-Out of No Child Left Behind Passes Senate Education Committee

February 26, 2004

Contact: Jeremy Landon
Telephone: 651.296.0548
Date: February 18, 2004

(St. Paul) Legislation authored by State Senator Michele Bachmann (R-Stillwater) that would opt Minnesota out of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was passed by the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday. Bachmann, a long-time education reform advocate, has cited concerns with the cost of unfunded mandates as well as uncertainty regarding academic standards and testing requirements included in the federal legislation as the impetus for her legislation.

"As we prepare to set a new course for education in Minnesota, it is important that we get it right. I believe putting all of our stock into the federal No Child Left Behind Act would be a mistake," said Bachmann. "Just as classroom funding had to be diverted to implement the failed Profile of Learning standards, classroom funding will continue to suffer if Minnesota decides to comply with this legislation.

"Local control saw a big victory yesterday. It is time to free our teachers and local school districts from the constraints and mandates of the federal Department of Education."

Many superintendents, school board members, teachers, and parents have voiced their concern that further school district general fund dollars will have to be siphoned off to implement the No Child Left Behind Act. Concern regarding NCLB is not limited to Minnesota; across the country state legislatures are mulling over if and how to comply with the federal standards. Last week the Utah House voted not to comply with certain provisions they regard as unfunded mandates.

Another concern among education reform advocates regarding the No Child Left Behind Act has been the top-down nature of its academic standards and testing requirements.

"While I believe in standards and accountability measures, I don't think it is in Minnesota's best interest to yield power to the federal government," commented Senator Bachmann.

Michele Bachmann is serving her second term in the Minnesota Senate. She encourages and appreciates constituent input, and can be reached at (651)296-4351, by mail at 141 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155, or via e-mail.

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