FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                   April 29, 2005

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Post-democratic government inserted in MN education bill

(CHASKA) The Minnesota legislature is poised to adopt a "post-democratic" system of governance, according to EdWatch, the largest parent/citizen education advocacy group in Minnesota.

        EdWatch's Dr. Karen Effrem describes the early childhood education bill as what could be the most radical legislation ever to be adopted in Minnesota. Both the House (
HF 872, Sykora - R) and Senate (SF 1879, Hottinger - DFL) hand over governing authority and taxpayer funding to a private organization that is unaccountable to the public.

        "This type of legislation is the most massive redefinition of government ever proposed in Minnesota," said Effrem. "and it is also happening this year in the realms of healthcare and environmental policies. The education bills as they are presently written provide millions of taxpayer dollars to a non-elected, private organization to plan, implement and evaluate an entirely new system that will impact all children in the state from birth through five years old." In environmental and health care, Effrem was referring to the Clean Water Legacy Act
(HF 826, Ozment - R / SF 762, Frederickson - R), and genomic research legislation (HF 434, Demmer - R and HR 1548, Kohls - R / SF 1309, Kelley - DFL) which will empower similar unaccountable public-private partnerships. .

        Some respected policy analysts refer to this this transfer of authority as "post democracy," meaning granting governing authority to unelected organizations. This legislation specifically sets up a private group, called the Minnesota Early Learning Foundation (MELF) as non-public and not subject to any laws governing public agencies.

        "We already have a Department of Education appointed by our elected Governor to administer our laws," Effrem continued. "Why would we duplicate that by setting up a new, rogue governance structure that is unaccountable to the legislature or to the voters? A privately appointed board will never run for election. This is a direct attack on democracy."

        
Critics of the plan have made the point that MELF advocates, such as Ready4K, have spent millions on state-wide alarmist ads falsely stating that 50% of Minnesota children are not prepared for kindergarten. The ads make outrageous and unsupported claims that these children will end up in prisons without their Nanny State programs of Profile-like standards, invasive screening, and a state rating system of care providers that imperils the freedom of private and religious childcare programs.

        "They sell this as being for at-risk kids," stated Effrem, "but the system will affect everybody's children. At risk children are being used as a cover for a breathtaking power grab over all of Minnesota's parents, families, and voters."