May 11, 2005 

MN Education Conference Committee Begins
HF 872 -- the omnibus education bill

        The Minnesota House and Senate have passed two very different versions of the omnibus education bill, HF 872. Conference committees are now appointed to come to an agreement between them, and their first meeting was Thursday, May 12th. Five House members and five Senators will try to agree on what the final legislation will be.

        Monumental issues are at stake. They include whether Minnesota laws will be changed to include one vision of education or another.

Some of the issues are:

1.) Will the state adopt controversial Early Learning Indicators (curriculum standards) like the rejected Profile of Learning that define for all parents in Minnesota what their infants and toddlers -- birth through five should be taught, including indoctrination into the political agendas of gender identity, diversity training, vocations, environmentalism, and social activism?

The Senate version says YES.    The House version says NO.

2.) Will the state create big government oversight of public, private, and religious child care centers through a state rating system based on these controversial early learning curriculum standards?

The Senate version says YES.    The House version says NO.

3.) Will the controversial early learning curriculum be used as a basis for screening toddlers beginning at age three?

The Senate version says YES.    The House version says NO.

4.) Will toddlers be subjected to mental health screening?

The Senate version says YES.    The House version says NO.

5.) Will parents be protected from the coercion of threats of child abuse, child neglect, educational or medical neglect charges for refusing to medicate their children with powerful psychotropic drugs that have potentially lethal side effects like suicide?

The Senate version says NO.             The House version says YES.

6.) Will your tax dollars be spent on coordinated services, including expensive, controversial, subjective, and invasive mental health and home visiting programs, for "at-risk" infants and preschool children when "at-risk" is never defined?
 
The Senate version says YES.           The House version says NO.

7.) Will districts be required to teach comprehensive sex education that does not allow an abstinence-only approach, and that will teach kids how to use contraceptives -- without active, opt-in parental consent?

The Senate version says YES.    The House version says NO.

8.) Will the South St. Paul International Baccalaureate curriculum for global citizenship expand to all of its K-12 programs?

The Senate version says YES.    The House version says NO.

9.) Will references to state and American religious history and founding documents be protected from classroom censorship, and will students' freedom to voluntarily write and report on religious topics be protected?

The Senate version says NO.             The House version says YES.

House conferees:                                        
Barb Sykora     
Mark Buesgens
Sondra Erickson
Bud Heidgerken  
Denise Dittrich         

Senate conferees:                                           
LeRoy Stumpf            
Steve Kelley            
Dan Sparks              
Gen Olson               
Linda Scheid