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Progress Report at the Capitol

May 11, 2004

The Legislature's constitutionally mandated adjournment date is next Monday, May 17th. The two biggest education issues this session have yet to be resolved.

1. Commissioner Yecke's confirmation remains in limbo.
2. The Senate passed its illegitimate and radical social studies standards last Tuesday. A House/Senate conference committee was appointed and met today. They will negotiate the differences between the House and Senate versions of the education bill.

See the voting record for Senate votes.

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1. Commissioner Yecke's confirmation remains in limbo.

Despite having taken endless hours of committee testimony, Sen. Kelley and the DFL dominated Senate are leaving the confirmation of the Commissioner hanging. It appears Senate DFLers hope to extort some leverage by holding denial of confirmation over her head indefinitely.

From the Star Tribune:

The public appears to believe there is 'linkage' also. The Star Tribune instant poll of April 28, 2004 asked the question: Why did the committee reject Yecke?

Of the 20,303 people who voted,

  • 87% believed that the DFLers were playing political power games or that the vote simply reflected sentiments opposing Governor Pawlenty.
  • 12% believed that the committee rejected the Commissioner because she is not the best choice for the job.
  • 1% didn't know or didn't care

    Yet the Senate Majority continues holding out, paying little heed to public sentiment.

    2. Social Studies and Science Standards

    Last week the radical Kelley standards came before the full Senate. Many call them anti-American for a number of reasons, one being that his standards remove the requirement to teach national sovereignty. The Kelley standards replace the concept of sovereignty with numerous references to globalism. The Kelley standards passed the full Senate on a strictly party line vote, 31 to 34, with Kiscaden and Marko absent.

    The DFL Senators voted in lockstep with Sen. Kelley's leadership. One after the other, they defeated amendments to:

    Here are the Senators who voted to oppose the citizen standards:

    Last Friday, a House/Senate conference committee was appointed. In the House, the conferees are:

    In the Senate, the conferees are:

    The conference committee will negotiate the entire education omnibus bill this week. The science and social studies standards are part of that bill. (HF 1793)

    There is room for compromise in the education bill as a whole, and there is room for compromise on other policy issues before the House and the Senate. But there is no room for compromise between the Kelley standards and the already significantly compromised House social studies standards.

    We may see the final agreements before the week has ended.

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