105 Peavey Rd, Ste 116
Chaska, MN 55318
April 16, 2003
On Monday, the Senate E-12 Education Budget Committee (Sen. Stumpf, Chair) passed Senator Kelley's Profile Clone bill by a RAZOR THIN margin and sent it on to the Senate floor for a vote.
No date is set for that vote. DFL Senator Wiger joined Senate Republicans on the committee in opposing Senator Kelley's S.F. 639, but Profile opponents remained one vote short. Senator Wiger was one of a number of DFL Senators who voted to repeal the Profile last year.
Also Monday, the Governor and Commissioner Yecki conducted a press conference unveiling the Commissioner's new math and Language Arts standards. In response to media questions about the Kelley bill (S.F. 639) Governor Pawlenty called it "nothing more than warmed-over Profile offerings," according to the Star Tribune. "In many respects it [the Kelley bill] appears to build 'Profile II, the Sequel,' " Pawlenty said.
The Governor's statement was welcomed by Profile opponents who have observed DFL Senators trying to hide behind a phony repeal. The public has been making its voices heard in a big way at the Capitol -- to the Governor, to legislators, and to the MN Chamber of Commerce which has entirely ignored the House and Senate bill that genuinely repeals the Profile of Learning. The Chamber references only Kelley's bill and calls it a repeal of the Profile.
Yesterday, Senator Kelley angrily responded to the Governor's comments. In the Senate Education Policy Committee hearing, as the Commissioner was presenting the new Academic Standards proposal, accused the Governor of being unwilling to compromise. ""Both sides want to repeal the Profile and replace it with something new," Kelley stated, continuing to misrepresent his proposal as a repeal.
At that point, a member of the Academic Standards Committee, Mr. Davison, a Ph.D in History and a 30 year K-12 teacher of at-risk and inner city youth, came forward, stating that trying to blend Kelley's proposed standards with those of the Commissioner's Academic Standards Committee was a "worthy goal." He went on to explain, why blending the two was impossible. "The two documents are fundamentally different," he explained.
Davison went on to describe the Kelley approach as being about process, placing a high value on demonstrating what you know. The other approach, the Commissioner's standards, focuses on knowledge.
Mr. Davison stated that he is a long time Democrat who has never voted for a Republican. He suggested it was time to put aside partisan politics and do what is right for the children, providing a knowledge-based education.
Senator Kelley warned that time is running out to write new standards into law. For the first time, he voiced a threat that the Senate might leave the Profile intact unless an acceptable "compromise" can be reached between the competing standards.
Time is running out for one reason only. The Senate has delayed moving the Profile repeal through the Committee process until now. The House passed its bill in February.
Sen. Kelley's strategy is, predictably, a lose/lose for opponents of the Profile of Learning. He would make "no compromise" mean the present Profile standards stay intact.. But a "compromise" with his proposed standards would give us a revised edition of the same. How can he lose? Here's the way the Minnesota School Board Association puts it:
"What's going to happen? Yecke and House Republicans have to come up with a plan acceptable to the Senate to move the plan to the Governor. The Profile is in law, so in that sense the Senate has the upper hand.
However, the majority in the Senate is razor-thin; and many Senators may accept a less-than-perfect plan to distance themselves from the Profile, which has taken a public beating." (MSBA Capitol Compass - April 16, 2003)
Yes, support for the Profile is thin in the Senate. With the Governor making it clear to the public that the Kelley bill is "Profile II, the Sequel," will the DFL majority fall on its sword to preserve the radical reinvention of education in Minnesota? Or will they do the right thing --jump on board the House version of the Profile repeal train (H.F. 2/S.F.60) that really repeals the Profile.
Will the DFL Senate leave the Profile of Learning in place if they don't get their way?
Thank the Governor for making it clear that Kelley's bill doesn't repeal the Profile. Phone: (651) 296-3391 Phone: (800) 657-3717 Fax: (651) 296-2089 E-mailCall DFL Senators and tell them what you think about a REAL repeal, the House version (H.F. 2/S.F.60), not Kelley's fake repeal (S.F. 639). Call the Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Hottinger. Tell him that the DFL are supporting a Profile preservation bill in S.F. 639. Ask him to provide leadership to repeal the Profile by supporting H.F. 2/S.F.60. Phone: (651) 296-6153 E-mail
Finally, we want to make note of Kim Ode's column in the Star Tribune today. It pertains to teachers and their freedom of speech. We think this is important for all sorts of reasons. One in particular, however, is the continued refrain from Senator Kelley and others that his standards are created by TEACHERS. Regardless of what the public and parents want, TEACHERS are the only authorities on good education, he reasons, so his approach trumps all others.
Has anyone noticed that even though teachers have indicated they want to eliminate the Profile of Learning, teachers OPPOSING THE PROFILE were absent from the 14 public hearings statewide? The meetings were packed with curriculum directors, administrators and teachers, all with the same talking points, but all in support of continuing down the path of a radical process curriculum.
The Eden Prairie school district did a survey of their teachers last November, and here are some of their responses:
"A majority of Eden Prairie High School teachers have recommended that graduation standards [Profile of Learning] be done away with."
"Of 102 teachers responding to a questionnaire turned in Nov. 11, 73 said the standards should be eliminated, 18 said they should be revised for clarity, and 15 said they should be retained as they are."
One respondent went so far as to say, "Grad standards has done more harm to education than anything I can think of." (A Changed Political Climate)
In Kim Ode's column today, she interviews a teacher: "When I asked her to spill her guts, though, she came to a dead halt. She did not want to be mentioned in any column. She didn't want to even be suspected of talking to me. 'My job could be on the line,' she said. 'I cannot give myself away.' "
"'I cannot give myself away." What an incredible admission! Only one side of the story is allowed. We obviously don't KNOW what teachers think. Why not? What is our educational system afraid of? Free speech? Are they squelching other opinions because they are afraid for what teachers will say? We really want to know!
The more an opinion is censored, the more important it becomes to find out what that opinion is. Why must it not be heard? We have heard from teachers who say their whole school would speak out if we could offer them job protection. We can't offer them job protection, so they speak to us in secrecy.
We believe that this situation undermines any credibility that teachers involved in the Profile or the Profile Clone speak for teachers. Until teachers have the freedom to speak up without fear of retribution, freely exercising that constitutional right of every American citizen, Minnesotans should suspect any statement or policy that supposedly represents what teachers want. This violation of the rights of teachers to voice their opinions is a travesty that legislators should challenge with a vengeance. Where are the teachers unions when they need them? Well, actually, they've been colluding with the Profile advocates to see to it no organized resistance by teachers is allowe