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Priority! Minnesota Academic Standards

June 29, 2003

Applications for the Academic Standards Committees in Social Studies and Science are open. You can apply or you can be part of this in other ways. Please keep the academic standards development on you radar screen. It is very, very important!

The Profile of Learning was repealed in the last legislative session. Profile-free Math and Language Arts standards were developed that emphasize knowledge. They focus on knowledge students must know, not on a worldview students must adopt.

But the battle for knowledge based education is only partly won in Minnesota!

The Social Studies and Science standards are at least half of the curriculum that cover content in kindergarten through 12th grade. Social Studies is history, geography, economics, citizenship and government (civics). Science is all of the natural sciences.

Quite frankly, the biggest battles for genuine academics are in these standards. The social engineers, those for whom education is a vehicle for their radical social agenda, are counting on you, the public, to snooze through the next round of standards. We must prove them wrong!

We desperately don't want to come back to you next fall with the bad news that the radical Profile of Learning content standards are back. If we are not involved now, that is precisely where we will find ourselves.

To get a glimpse of what's at stake, please read our brief report on the heated debate on the Senate floor over removing preserving and promoting the Declaration of Independence from the parameters for our standards. (Those words were removed from the legislation!)

There are four levels for you to be involved:

1. We urge you to consider applying for a standards committee appointment, or consider who you know who should apply. If you do apply, you will be representing yourself, not the Maple River Education Coalition. But please, let us know you've applied.

Next Thursday, July 3rd, is the last day to apply.

We know for a fact that those with a social change agenda in our schools are aggressively seeking positions on the committees. These are the very people who brought us the Profile of Learning. Now that the Profile is repealed, their agenda hasn't changed a bit. "Whatever means necessary" is the motto of the radicals. Whether it's Outcome Based Education, national standards, school-to-work, or the Profile of Learning, their agenda never changes. It just takes on a new form.

The timeline of committee commitments is listed below. Most of the work will take place in August. For anyone serving on a committee, sacrifices will be required. And yet, nothing is more important for our future and for our children. Think about it.

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) website says:

"The Minnesota Academic Standards Committee will be composed of parents, teachers, business people, and representatives from higher education and education organizations. Anyone interested in serving can sign up on the department website.

"Those without access to the Internet can call (651) 582-8756 and an application will be mailed. Applications are also being distributed through superintendents and statewide education organizations. Not everyone who applies will be selected to serve.

"The criteria used to select the members of the committees will include:

  • Content knowledge and expertise
  • Passion for academic excellence
  • Commitment to the academic standards committee meeting schedule and workload.

    Applicants may choose to be on any one of the following eight subcommittees:

  • Social Studies grades K-2 Science grades K-2
  • Social Studies grades 3-5 Science grades 3-5
  • Social Studies grades 6-8 Science grades 6-8
  • Social Studies grades 9-12 Science grades 9-12

    "Once again, the process will include a public comment period with changes posted on the department Web site and public hearings across the state."

    July 17, Thursday, the Committee selection will be announced.
    **July 31, Thursday, 1st meeting of the Committees
    Aug 1-31 Subcommittees meet to develop standards

    "Subcommittees will work at department headquarters with staff support and will determine their own schedule, choosing from pre- determined blocks of time."

    **Aug 27, Wednesday, Social Studies combined committee
    **Aug 28, Thursday, Science combined committee
    Sept 4, Thursday, First draft due to commissioner
    Sept 8, Monday, Public comment period begins
    First draft posted on web for public comment
    First draft sent to national experts

    **Sept 8 - Oct 24 Public hearings held around the state
    **Nov 1, Saturday, Science committee meets to consider public comments
    **Nov 8, Saturday, Social Studies committee meets to consider public comments

    2. We urge you to attend the public meetings of the standards committees. (The public meetings are noted above with **.) We will be providing more details about these as the dates approach.

    The public meetings are a lot like legislative hearings. That is, your presence provides public accountability. The worst possible situation is for these standards to be crafted behind closed doors for lack of public interest. Your comments will mean much if you've been there, actually becoming part of it in an indirect way.

    3. We urge you to read the proposed standards as they become available and attend the public hearings around the state to publicly comment on them. Last time, the meetings were dominated by teachers with an attitude, and no teachers who genuinely opposed the Profile dared utter a word. Parents were frequently looked down upon and sometimes even shouted down if they supported a knowledge-based approach to education. Sometimes the Commissioner treated poorly.

    We cannot allow our schools to be run by mob rule. The 2002 election was a referendum on the Profile of Learning, and the Profile lost. The legislature acted on that referendum and the Governor signed a bill to repeal the Profile. Now that law must be put into effect. The educational cartel that brought us the Profile is confident that we will consider our work over, and they hope to dominate this process in the coming weeks and months.

    The truth is, those who supported and implemented the Profile of Learning or who currently support the radical content that constituted the Profile standards should not be involved in this process at all. With the Profile of Learning repealed, the Profile approach to standards should not be on the table!

    The new law requires that the standards must be "clear, concise, objective, measurable." They "must not require a specific teaching methodology." They must "be consistent with the constitutions of the United States and the state of Minnesota." The Profile clone was defeated. Those who supported it should be disqualified from serving on the new academic standards committee, because their purpose is contrary to the law that repeals the Profile. And yet, these very people want to populate the standards committees.

    4. We urge you to write a respectful letter to Commissioner Yecke. Urge her to make it a qualification for serving on the standards committees that a person must have a commitment to follow the new law that repealed the Profile. Being a teacher or administrator or a high credentialed professor from the University must not upstage the commitment to replace the Profile with "objective" and "verifiable" standards that uphold our principles of freedom. Urge her to choose people who believe in academic knowledge for education, because that is the only way to get the to standards the voters expect.

    Commissioner of Education
    Minnesota Department of Education
    1500 Highway 36 West
    Roseville, Minnesota 55113-4266

    This state cannot afford to go through this process and end up without Science and Social Studies standards that are substantively different from the Profile. If we do, the election of a Governor and legislators who promised to repeal the Profile of Learning will be transformed in