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March 20, 2006

MN Nanny State Assault Returns

Like Freddy Krueger who refuses to die in a bad horror movie, the Nanny State that was valiantly fought off last year is back in full force. This year, the over $10 million state takeover of parenting, early childhood education,  mental health screening, and corporate welfare scheme is coming from big-government legislators from both parties and from Governor Pawlenty, as well.
Senate Early Childhood Policy and Budget Division
Chair: Sen. John Hottinger
3 p.m. Room 123 Capitol
Agenda Tuesday, March 21:
S.F. 3300-Robling: Governor's early childhood bill.
S.F. 3296-Hottinger: NorthStar Quality Improvement and Rating System.

Agenda: Thursday, March 23
 S.F. 906-Bonhoff: Kindergarten assessment initiative.
1. Governors Bill96 SF 3300 / HF 3623
Authors: Sens. Robling, Hottinger / Reps. Meslow, Slawik
This bill resurrects the Education Departments totally bogus Kindergarten Readiness Assessment with a plan to intervene and remediate those children deemed not ready. Last session, it died for lack of funding. Ready4K and the Nanny State backers like Art Rolnik distorted the data from this subjective and meaningless assessment to manufacture a crisis by spreading a lie that 50% of Minnesota preschoolers were not ready for kindergarten.  Here are the main problems with the assessment.  
Other bad aspects of the Governors bill include:  
2. Expand the Early Learning Foundation to include
the Quality Rating System
-- SF 3296 Hottinger
The Minnesota Early Learning Foundation, the post-democratic public-private partnership which creates an unaccountable foundation to implement and control early childhood policy in Minnesota, was brought to us last session by Senator Hottinger, and Representatives Sykora and Meslow, funded at $1 million.  Senator Hottinger now wants MELF to receive another $2.5 million to implement and control the quality rating system (QRS) that failed last year. Under SF  the foundation will bribe childcare programs, including private and religious programs, with taxpayer-funded grants.to indoctrinate children and undermine parental authority with the Early Childhood Indicators of Progress at progressively higher rates, the more they comply. (See Ready4Ks latest version of the QRS, now called the NorthStar System.) The bill itself also states that programs participating in the QRS must implement the states early learning Indicators.
3. Screen ALL Children AT LEAST Once by Age 3
SF 906 Bonoff / HF 1759 Meslow
Senator Kelley authored this failed bill (see EdWatch 2005 update, Part II) in the Senate last year. It has now been handed off to Terry Bonoff, the new Senator from Plymouth. SF 906 requires a mandatory program of early childhood developmental screening for children at least once by the child's third birthday.  That could mean screening at birth, something actually being promoted by the Road Map for Mental Health System Reform in Minnesota, also endorsed by the Governor. Community outreach plans are also required to ensure that all children are screened by age three. (Emphasis added).  This plan would include all children, whether they are headed for public school or elsewhere. Senator Hottingers SF 2841 to add mental health screening to the required developmental assessments passed the Senate committee. SF 906, together with Hottingers mental health screening, will require that ALL children in Minnesota be screened for mental health at least once by age three. SF 906 also would implement the Departments kindergarten readiness assessment as discussed in the Governors bill above.  As we discussed last year, SF 906 would also require No Child Left Behind (NCLB) style adequate yearly progress (AYP) based on these worthless standards.
Besides the indoctrination and mental health screening aspects in all of these bills, their promotion by Art Rolnik of the Federal Reserve and big business interests reeks of corporate welfare that subsidizes the child care costs of million and billion dollar corporations using the disguise of education.  It penalizes families that sacrifice to keep one parent at home to raise children by forcing them to subsidize two income earner families and these corporations by paying for ineffective and dangerous programs. with hard earned income.
For more information, link to these resources:
 Response to Ready4K's Misinformation

 innesota Nanny State Tidal Wave Held Back
False Data on Reday4K Baby Ed Agenda

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