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Profile of Learning: Rest in Peace

May 22, 2003

The Profile of Learning Show-What-You-Know Graduation Standards were formally laid to rest in a rally at the State Capitol on Thursday evening. The Maple River Education Coalition staged a celebration to mark the repeal of the controversial education requirements. Supporters came with signs, buttons, and t-shirts from past rallies. Those rallies at times drew up to 5,000 to the Capitol steps.

Renee Doyle, founder of the Coalition in 1998, thanked the legislators for their overwhelming support and reminded the group that it was a long, five year battle. "Overturning the Profile required electing a new governor and new legislators. It required that parents, teachers and citizens come back year after year." Doyle dramatized the burial of the Profile with a ceremonial shredding of the now dead Profile standards and performance assessments.

Coalition board member Michael Chapman held up a poster size visual of the three-circles he has used in presentations over the past five years. The interconnecting circles identify restructuring in education, workforce and the economy. Chapman dramatically crossed out the education circle, stating, "One down, two to go," to illustrate the work opposing School-to- Work that lies ahead.

Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke thanked the work of the Coalition and people across the state who have worked tirelessly to replace the Profile of Learning with new standards. Senator Bachmann thanked the crowd for showing up, being active, and making a huge impact on government in Minnesota. "This is about our children, our freedom, and our future," she reminded the crowd.

House and Senate Chief authors Rep. Tony Kielkucki and Senator Gen Olson addressed the group, acknowledging that the work of the Maple River Education Coalition was the driving force behind the Profile repeal. Many legislators drifted through the rally to be recognized and thanked. DFL Representative Gene Pelowski was warmly received and recognized by Sen. Olson as one who fought Outcome Based Education (OBE) in Minnesota with her ten years ago. Senator Kelley watched on from the second floor.

Meanwhile, legislators were conducting business to finish up their work in this Special Session. The K-12 Education Policy and funding bill was being debated in the House as the rally proceeded. Candy bars bearing stickers bearing the word "R.I.P. Profile of Learning, 1998 -2003" were distributed to those present, to legislators and to the Capitol Press Corps.

The bill that Governor Pawlenty signed on Wednesday replaces the Profile with new, knowledge-based state standards. The final version of both the new language arts and the math standards were available to the legislators last Monday before the House and Senate voted for its final passage.

State science, social studies standards and aligned tests remain to be developed. Those present made it clear they intend to stay involved to finish the job.

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