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June 6, 2006

2006 Legislative Session
Wins and losses

International Baccalaureate (IB) expansion defeated
The $7.3 million expansion of the un-American IB curriculum was defeated. Instead, a one-time appropriation for expanding and increasing student participation in Advanced Placement alone passed. This is good for Minnesota students and good for Minnesota. Parents and constituents weighed in to oppose expanding IB to their legislators. This year, the Minnesota GOP platform for the first time includes opposition to federal and state funding and district implementation of International Baccalaureate. Schools that teach IB are agreeing to promote the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the Earth Charter.

The UDHR promotes the United Nations, its actions, and its treaties (Article 26, paragraph 2), even when these actions and treaties have not been approved by, or ratified by, the United States, such as the Biodiversity Treaty, the Treaty on the Rights of the Child, Agenda 21, the Kyoto Treaty and the Treaty establishing the United Nations International Criminal Court. IB teaches students that they are "world" citizens with higher allegiance to world governance. The Earth Charter promotes world governance, radical social policies, and an earth worship environmentalism.

Preschool mental health screening defeated
Once again, efforts by Sen. Hottinger's (DFL-St. Peter) to establish statutory authority for preschool mental health screening failed. In this session, EdWatch discovered that mental health screening is already being implemented by this administration without legal authority. Nevertheless, the legislature refused to authorize it. In addition, the state GOP platform now also contains a new plank against mental health screening and socioemotional standards

In spite of the bill's defeat, the Pawlenty administration is moving forward with preschool mental health screening unabated, referencing an obsolete administrative rule, the legal authority for which was repealed in 1989. Rather than rein in obstinate bureaucrats running roughshod over our children in defiance of state law, the Governor has brought in the politically left DFL Attorney General, Mike Hatch, to insist that it's okay. Both the Department and Hatch's office are using federal special education law as an excuse to use screening as a fishing expedition to trap more children into that system, all without telling parents or obtaining proper consent.

Serious questions remain unanswered.

Why have universal mental health screening advocates at the legislature attempted for two years to expand developmental preschool screening to include mental health into state law if no further legislation is necessary? Why did  Hottinger and the Department of Education staff refuse to tell committee members that the state was already implementing this? Why are parents not being notified and their permission to have their children screened for "special education" obtained as state law requires for special education screening if this mental health screening is part of special education law, as the administration now claims?

EdWatch cheers the defeat of the Hottinger preschool mental health screening bill, while crying foul over its implementation by the Governors administration. The Road Map for Mental Health System Reform in Minnesota of 2005, endorsed by the Governor, includes the goal to assure "that all children ages birth to five are screened early and continuously for the presence of health, socioemotional [mental health] or developmental needs." (p. 165, emphasis added.) The "Road Map" is apparently being implemented with or without the consent of the legislature and Minnesota parents.

Parental rights preserved in special education
The right of parents to refuse special education evaluations was preserved.  This includes refusing emotional and behavioral evaluations based on criteria admitted by experts to be "subjective" that often lead to psychiatric labeling and drugging.

$15 Million for Nanny State
Key players in the House, Senate, and Governor united in the wee morning hours of May 21st to adopt significant portions of the Nanny State pushed by the DFL Senate and that the Governor proposed in his State of the State address last March. They include:

Components of the Nanny State that didn't pass were: While we appreciate this one example of common sense leadership by the Governor, this DFL proposal, as well as those proposed and signed by the Governor, is based on the controversial Indicators.  Despite numerous promises since March of 2005 to remove and revamp these Profile-for-Preschool outcomes, they remain firmly ensconced as the foundation for many elements of the Nanny State that are receiving a bipartisan push.

The passage of important parts of the Minnesota Nanny State sets up a system that moves Minnesota government into the childrearing drivers seat. Thats a major expansion of government. These are aggressively anti-family policies, because they expand government's destruction of family autonomy at taxpayer expense, they value preschool over parental care in important areas of childhood development, and they provide outside organizations undue influence in establishing the values, beliefs, and worldview of our children. An early childhood system also raises the cost of government over the long haul. This big government corporate welfare will force single income, two-parent families who sacrifice to raise their children at home to subsidize child care for others, forcing more moms into the workforce.

Some of our legislators and the Governor are being influenced by big business groups who view our kids as resources and by big-government ideologues like Ready4K, the Star Tribune and Public Radio. It remains for voters to speak clearly that strong families require limiting governments role in the upbringing of our children.

Do we want the state deciding what our kids will believe about homosexuality, mental health, and social activism? Are our moral beliefs bigotry? Are we subjecting our children to state indoctrination into the homosexual and other radical worldview and values? All of these are being implemented today through the early childhood system being assembled at the Capitol. Consider this when you decide for whom you will work, contribute, and vote in November.

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