Minnesota Pushes Baby-Readiness for the Workforce as Means for Infant Education

Baby photo for the workforce

Minnesota Pushes Baby-Readiness for the Workforce as Means for Infant Education

By Linda Bell

Invited Testimony: On January 24, 2019, the MN House Early Education Committee invited Labor Economist, Aaron Sojourner of the Carlson School of Management, to provide his ideas on behalf of the organization, “First 1,000 Days.” Essentially, Sojourner feels strongly that prenatal home visits and school by year 1 for all children is optimal for their “brain growth” and good for our state’s “economic development.   Read on.  Listen here.  http://ww2.house.leg.state.mn.us/audio/mp3ls91/child012419.mp3

[You should know from the onset, MACC respectfully disagrees with Mr. Sojourner’s ideas.]

The vision: “If we can use investment – we can drive the success of the community.”

A mid-1980s research experiment, the “Infant Health & Development Program” was used as evidence for the necessary school child development. Personally, I wonder why more legislators didn’t question the hypothesis from this flawed “research” that studied only the top wealthiest 20% and lowest income-level 20% when results were easily predictable.  The lowest 20% made gains via school and school breakfast and lunch. Wouldn’t we have expected this outcome? And, their conclusion based on flawed research? Enroll all infants in school, free, full-day, 5 days a week.  Their brains are not developing well at home with their parents.

From his testimony, “Families have the least private resources early in their lives.  Our kids are young and have the most private responsibilities which creates a cascade of crises, but go back to that fundamental tension… It’s really hard to meet the dual responsibility of caring and earning.”  And yet, families have been raising children for centuries!!!

Caveat: MACC absolutely supports helping those who are malnourished!!! Who wouldn’t? However, this research doesn’t show ANY “evidence” to warrant moving all children into the schools from birth or 1 year.  Remember: We already have numerous programs in place to help those in need and for a variety of needs.  (Unfortunately, some of these programs are riddled with fraud/corruption!)  But for the malnourished, certainly changes in the amount of funding can be amended as needed without placing the entire population of infants into school!

Secondly, a plea was made to Minnesota businesses because infants in schools will make great investments and benefit the workforce.  Yes!  Check the hearing audio with your own ears!  This thinking comes to us from the Workforce portion of the Common Core Standards.  Indeed, many in business have been indoctrinated into believing that their charitable acts will better all of society, without of course, asking us! Did Prof. Sojourner consider the effects on the family? Does he realize that not everyone sees their children as a game piece for the workforce overlords?

From testimony: “James Heckmack, Nobel Laureate at the University of Chicago estimated an 8% return on early childhood programs.  The rate of return to private capital in the stock market is doubled rate of return. If you invest $1 for 20 years @ 8%, you make $50.00.”[per child]  Really!!!

And continuing, Human capacity develops through a “life-long process” [cradle-to-grave] and early in kids’ lives their brains are very subject to contingency based on their experiences.”

Concluding, Prof. Sojourner declares, Early experiences have life-long consequences. We should think about this time in a kid’s life as a once in a life-time investment opportunity and this shouldn’t be seen as a burden – it’s both.  We don’t get those years back!  We are the most of families when they have the least provokes this set of crises that are entirely predictable.  With information we can better decisions about and invest in our resources.

Well, here the professor is partly correct!  There are very few parents who would miss those precious early childhood experiences!  Every parent knows that loving, caring and spending time with your children do have life-long consequences and we can never get those years back.  We definitely agree there!

The First 1,000 Days’ website supports helping others by fighting malnutrition.  So why is Professor Sojourner promoting infant schooling for all children?  After looking through the website, especially at the sponsors… Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, JI Packard Foundation, Kellogg Foundation and others, I could not find any mention of infant education but did find the resource page and their call to action.

“As the world embarks on the new era of sustainable development to end poverty in all its dimensions, your leadership is urgently needed to prioritize investments in nutrition. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that our governments have adopted requires a much stronger focus on ensuring that all people—but especially women and children—have the nutrition they need to thrive.” 

 Bingo! So the First 1,000 Days is helping to implement the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, of which some are not-so-good. You can also see their alliance with UNICEF, United Nations International Children’s Fund

First 1,000 Day graphic

Founding Partners:

First 1,000 Days sponsors

And 80 other world-wide partners.  https://thousanddays.org/about/partners/

And allies:

First 1,000 Days alliesTAKE ACTION!

These grant approvals and bills are moving very fast in both Senate and House, no matter how far away their genesis originates!  IMMEDIATE: Call education committee chairs today!

“I do not want further incremental or expansive funding for 4 year Preschool, Home Visiting OR Birth to 3 Education through bill passage or acceptance of federal grants, writing new state grants. Tell them to HIT PAUSE before the legislature goes any further in funding mandates that the public is not interested in.”

Sen. Carla Nelson, Chair, Senate Ed Policy & Finance 651-296-4848

Rep. Dave Pinto, Chair, House Early Education 651-296-4199

Rep. Cheryl Youakim, Chair, House Education Policy 651-296-9889

Rep. Jim Davnie, Chair, House Education Finance 651-296-0173

All in all, those who promote a top-down structured early education, whether for Preschool 4s, or Birth to 3s or Home Visiting, all have a certain mindset that children are better off in a school setting away from their parents.  We could draw connections to any number of socialist, communist and fascist governments who gathered in all the children while pushing off parents.  Today in America, government and corporate hands are working far too closely.  Somehow our legislators are just not seeing it.  We can do better for our children and our children’s children!  It’s up to US to help them!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

TAKE ACTION: Minnesota’s Next Frontier: Birth to 3 Education “Great Start for ALL” Part 2

Take Action Button

TAKE ACTION: Minnesota Pushes Birth to 3 Years Education

“Great Start for ALL Minnesota Children Act” Part 2

By Linda Bell

What if I told you that government wishes to place your infants into public school or early head start at least by their first birthday or if not at birth?  What if I told you that this idea that government knows better how to love and care for your child than you do has existed for quite a while?  Those who believe that the state should raise your child are coming to do the unthinkable.  Let’s hope level heads prevail!

BILLS and GRANTS are flooding every U.S. state house to establish a birth to 3 education and prenatal to 3 home visiting system.  Be on the watch for those legislators who want to officially bring in 4 year old fully-funded or near fully-funded preschool which would complete the birth to workforce continuum. Recent invited testimony for the Minnesota House demonstrates the clear intent behind these bills.  The intent and implementation of this Act will occur through the passage of state bills based on the acceptance of federal or state grants that both sides of the aisle must pass.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgWcBV9_kLM

Remember Melissa Harris-Perry, the Tulane professor and host of the Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC? In 2013 she stated,  “We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children: your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children.”

“So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.” 

“Once it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the household’s, then we start making better investments,” Harris-Perry added.

 If you’ve been following, Part 1 detailed Home Visits statewide for Minnesota mothers prenatally to the child’s 3rd birthday and their expansive funding for those who are, or have, “high risk, high need, mental illness” as well as new categories, “first-time mothers, those with young families.” We are watching 2 replica bills in the House and now in the Senate regarding the “Great Start for ALL Minnesota Children Act.”

Well, you don’t really mean it!  Funding to put infants in school?  What’s in Article 3 of the “Great Start for ALL Minnesota Children?”

 Section 1: The Great Start Fund

The Great Start Fund would be established in the state treasury and will provide by law, as well as include funds “donated, allotted, transferred, or otherwise provided.”

This shows the intent that state funding for Birth to 3 education is meant to be long-term and continuous. 

Birth to 3 Appropriations

The Great State Fund. Monies appropriated from the fund to the commissioner of education for early learning scholarships to the commissioner of education to all eligible applicants. Also, utilize other funds available for the basic sliding fee child care assistance program. Additionally, the commissioner of health is to “ensure program availability to all eligible applicants” and utilizing other funds available “from state and federal sources.”

Expansive Appropriations

Subdivision 3. Birth to 3. Eligibility.

  • “The eligibility requirement for funds appropriated under Subd. 2 are as follows:
  • Parents or guardians have income equal to or less than 400% of the federal poverty level income in the current calendar year.
  • A child is from birth to 3 on September 1 of the current school year.”

Please note!  “BIRTH TO 3…”  Birth to 3.  I literally have to pinch myself as I write.  What kind of government wants babies enrolled in school?

Second, check the 2019 Federal Poverty Level (below) for recipients of the Birth to 3 funding.  Basically, if you have a family of 4 and make a little more than $100,000.00 at 400% of federal poverty level, you can receive funding.  Involvement is increased to the near-upper middle class.  “Based on Pew Research Center data for the 2017 fiscal year within the Center’s parameters, an income range of $41,000 and $132,000 is considered to be middle class.”  https://www.thestreet.com/personal-finance/what-is-middle-class-14833259

Federal povery level 2019

Generally, the remainder of Article 3 is not amended, other than older funding regarding Early Learning Scholarships for pre-kindergarten and school readiness plus and now combined to “not more than 7,160 participants for a fiscal year.”

So what’s the intent behind these bills? 

 You’ll need to read Pt 3 which I should have out later this afternoon.

TAKE ACTION!

These grant approvals and bills are moving very fast in both Senate and House!  IMMEDIATE: Call education committee chairs today!

“I do not want further incremental or expansive funding for 4-year Preschool, Home Visiting OR Birth to 3 Education through bill passage or acceptance of federal grants, writing new state grants. I am asking you to, “HIT PAUSE” before the you or the legislature goes any further in funding mandates that the public is not interested in.”

Sen. Carla Nelson, Senate Ed Policy & Finance 651-296-4848

Rep. Dave Pinto, House Early Education 651-296-4199

Rep. Cheryl Youakim, House Education 651-296-9889

Rep. Jim Davnie, House Education Finance 651-296-0173

We have some work to do here!!  Our legislators appear to sincerely believe in this utopia of their own making, not their constituents! What effect will these bills have on children, parents and families, and thus, society? Let’s make our voices known while we still have time.

 

Read Part 3 to hear testimony voices that show clear intent for these ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALERT! Minnesota Home Visits: An Opportunity to Herd Our Children

home visits infants

ALERT! Minnesota Home Visits: An Opportunity to Herd Our Children
Minnesota HF 1

Hello! We’re from the Government! We’re Here to Help!! Or so the saying goes…

At what point will government understand that we really don’t want them generally poking around, advising us how to parent and herding our kids towards a one-size fits all? If you haven’t read any of the federal education grant bills (or health, for that matter), you may be in for a rude awakening. So… grab a cup of coffee before the snow storm arrives!

The first bill dropped this session and important for that reason alone, HF 1 consists of 5 or 6 existing statutes combined in order to introduce new language and create an act: Great Start for All Minnesota Children Act, seeking to expand, incentivize and implement governmental prenatal care, home visiting, early leaning (Birth to 3) and care and child care availability.

The state of Minnesota (and a host of non-profits, foundations, universities and corporations who help with dissemination or funding) eventually want your children from birth to 3 in some sort of childcare along with home visits prenatally until your child is three years old and then passed to the Pre-K program. This early ed/home visit system has been coming for at least 20 years. All programs in this system will be free. That’s the carrot!

For the sake of this article, we’ll be looking into Article 2 first. Read the whole bill here… https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/bill.php?b=house&f=HF0001&ssn=0&y=2019

Article 2: Home Visiting for Pregnant Women and Families with Young Children, is ready to award grants to “community health boards, nonprofit organizations and tribal nations” to either start or expand home visiting programs.

Specifically, the grants must be used “to start up or expand evidenced-based home visiting programs OR programs that are culturally or ethnically targeted to the county, reservation or region of operation.”

HOME VISITS FOR WHOM?
Families with young children or pregnant women who are high risk and have high needs (OR)
Parents who have a history of mental illness, domestic abuse or substance abuse (OR)
First-time mothers, (OR)
Families eligible for medical assistance or federal nutrition program

Essentially, HF 1 would include home visiting for EVERYONE! Will there be marketing? You betcha!

IS IT MANDATORY?
Not yet but it seemingly always ends up that way! There’ll be marketing, that is, “evidenced-based research” to show that infants are better off with home visits (and free, full-day education from 1 to 3) and, of course, it’s FREE! While incentivizing and implementing, nonprofits, corporations, business interests and community groups will HERD parents into putting their children into home visits. Just like Free, Full-Day Kindergarten implementation a few years ago, we could see home visits affecting a large percentage of all early childhood daycare/preschool opportunities. Home visits are to become the norm. (Read about the implementation strategies of free, full-day K below.) But there’s more…

WHAT ELSE?
Additionally, under Article 2, Subdivision 1 (b) if grant monies are used for home visiting, the program MUST provide services prenatally until the child is three years of age.

All in all, the government home visiting program will be 2 years and 9 months!!! What sort of information will be disseminated in the home visits? This will depend on the grant requirements. Remember, federal money always comes with “strings.”

WHAT ARE EVIDENCED-BASED GRANTS?
You may ask, “What is an evidenced-based grant, as described in Subd. 1 (1)?” Well, wait!! We have new proposed legislation on evidence-based education grants, HF 125, just being heard in committee this week. It states, “To the extent practicable, the goals must be aligned to the Minnesota’s World Best Workforce and the federally required Every Student Succeeds Act accountability systems.” Well, that’s a lot of Common Core right there (ESSA) in addition to requiring every school district to match up their budget with the state budget, line item by line item (MWBW.) Additionally, the bill gives grant application requirements, data collection expectations and reporting required by 180 days of the end of the grant period, December 2019. (Evidenced-based grants and home visiting were part of the RttT-ELC and ESSA, that is why ESSA is referenced in the bill.) Evidenced-based means “science-based.” And if it’s science, no matter if the methodology is flawed, it’s “settled.”

Appropriations

Appropriations will double in 2021 and then quadruple in 2022.
Fiscal year 2020 = $23,000,000.
Fiscal year 2021 = $41,600,000.
Fiscal year 2022 and thereafter = $98,000,000.

In addition, we’ll likely have several grant sources like the Evidenced-Grant Education Grant. HF 1, Subdivision 2 (b) “The Commissioner [of Education] shall allocate at least 75% of the grant funds awarded each grant cycle to Evidenced-Based home visiting programs and up to 25% will be allocated to culturally and ethnically-targeted home visiting programs.”

By the way, Minnesotans need to keep an eye on any changes to the lower end of compulsory school legislatively, because HF 1 targets the entire population. I don’t see it this year, but in the near term, yes. I’m sure there are many in Minnesota who would jump to receive “free” child care dressed up as important educational development.

Strategy for the Coming Home Visits/Birth to 3 Early Education: It’s Free!

And for what reason are we backfilling reforms to include kids from birth? When our state pushed for free full-day Kindergarten, do you recall their strategy? The state and their minions proclaimed that kids must be ready for 1st grade. The state said, “It’s free Full-Day-K!” As of the 2nd year of free Full-Day-K, the state declared that 99.7% of all school districts offered full-day.  In all, it took only two years to complete the switch over. By the way, we heard from many parents that did not want full-day K but these families were forced to comply because the school might not have room for the child next year. So the school said… which was not legal.

And now get ready for the marketing as they push Universal Preschool/Preschool for All (related to Article 3 of this bill) AND 2 and 3 year olds early education. Governor Dayton’s 2015 Fact Sheet on Preschool for All stated, “Investing in preschool opportunities for all Minnesota kids will help ENSURE EVERY FOUR-YEAR OLD ARRIVES AT ALL-DAY KINDERGARTEN PREPARED TO LEARN.” The ploy will be that kids have to be ready for Kindergarten. And so the argument will continue as young as the government and helpful foundations can push it.

Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant from 2011, which brought in the Common Core system, set the following priorities.
– Incentivize full-day Kindergarten
– Provide preschool to ALL low and middle income families
– Expand Head Start and other child care opportunities through the
community
– Extend and expand “evidenced-based” home visiting
– Push for more infants and toddlers into Head Start birth to 3
– Implement new standards into early learning (Common Core), birth to 5
– Utilize Child Care & Development Block Grants to start
Additionally, a new database system was created just for infants and toddlers, called ELSA. Data from birth, but now we see likely from conception (prenatal).

Remember, government works through incremental moves. If the move is too sudden or expansive, there is great public backlash. Though deemed an “opportunity,” it is becoming more and more clear that the goal is to institutionalize our kids during these young precious years.

Know your Minnesota legislator? It’s time to get on the phone or send emails and tell them we don’t want Home Visits for Minnesota (or a one-size-fits-all Birth to 3 early education model.)

2019 MN Ed Lobbyists & Legislative Goals

 poweful lobbyists

 

 

2019 Minnesota Education Lobbyists & Legislative Goals

The Minnesota House and Senate invited interested organizations to present their legislative goals for the 2019 session.  Sadly, every one of the following organizations are aligned with Common Core and Fed Ed-Led Reforms.  Almost all are state affiliates of a national organization as well as an international organization.  Let that sink in!

The lobbyists make up a very high percentage of who is speaking with your legislators, perhaps stopping in every week.  Because they are paid lobbyists, this is their job unlike our MACC volunteer citizen lobbyists.  Education makes up 41% of the state budget.

 

Association of Metro School Districts (ASMD)

Scott Croonquist, lobbyist.  3% formula increase; index to inflation; Safe Schools – facility expand, increase Safe Schools level; referendum passed by school board; tax equalization

 

Coalition of Teachers of Color & Native American

Kimberly Colbert, lobbyist.  Increase teachers of color/indigenous.

 

Cradle to Career Education Partnership Coalition

Julie Brock, lobbyist.  CCE located in Rochester.  They work in partnership with the Mpls & St. Paul Innovation Zone and other similar ilk.

 

Ed Allies (formerly MinnCAN)

Daniel Sellers, lobbyist.  Reshape system to meet needs of students.  Identify goals, partner to remove policy barriers.  Priorities: 1. Clear path to classroom; best teachers retained; 2. Renew alternative preparation program, wants transparent MDE school report card.  Bring the MDE website to the 21st century.  $1,000,000.  3. Hold charter schools to high standards.

 

Education Evolving

Carol McFarland, lobbyist.  EE partners with Knowledge Works.  Student-centered learning; Competency-Based Education statute amendment; teacher prep regulations; need more teachers of color and Native American;

 

Education Minnesota

Denise Specht, president.  2018 is a crucial year for education.  Priorities: Mental health, school-based; increasing equity; hire more social workers; expand community centers; teachers of color, with deep content knowledge and training; support teachers entering the classroom with fewer qualifications; paras and support staff.

 

Educators for Excellence (E4E)

Shannon Mitchell, lobbyist.  1. Racial disparities for student discipline 2. Equitable access to funding, esp. special education 3. Teacher standards.

 

Ignite Afterschool Program

Carrie Dennison Knight, lobbyist.  Asking funding for afterschool program.

 

Independent School District 916

Dan Nadditz, Director.  School-based mental health programs; Safe Schools.

 

Literacy Action Network

Tom Hyson, lobbyist.  Adult literacy programs.  Wants funding increase commensurate with K-12 literacy funding.

 

Minneapolis School District

Josh Donnum (sp), lobbyist.  Increase monies for MN Math Corp (and Reading).

 

MinneMinds Coalition

Alberto Monserrate, lobbyists.  This is a coalition.  “90% of brain development occurs before the age of 5.”    Fund early education, Birth to 3, universal preschool, Parent Aware.

 

Minnesota Administrators for Special Education (MASE)

John Klaber, Exec. Director.  Practical, equitable funding per district.

 

Minnesota Association of Agriculture Teachers

Tom Appel, Exec. Director.  Asking for funding for existing agricultural teaching.

 

Minnesota Association of Charter Schools

Eugene Piccolo, lobbyist.

 

Minnesota Association of Superintendents (MASA)

Roy Aronson, lobbyist.  Asking for $$$ College in the Schools.

 

Minnesota Business Partnership

Jim Bartholomew, lobbyist.  Expand Parent Aware program. Ensure every student has best education possible; priorities:  1. Funding school for 3 & 4 yr olds; 2 – give educators more flexibility.

 

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

Stacy Stout, Amy Wahlstein, lobbyist.  Workforce shortage… We need kids who are kindergarten ready! Allow families early childcare tied to quality.  Inventory of workforce opportunity.  She was asking for a new catalog of data on workforce.

 

Minnesota Childcare Association

Claire Sanford, lobbyist.   Education starts at birth.  MACS is a part of the MinneMinds Coalition.  Expanding early learning scholarships tied to Parent Aware.  Prefers investments not just tied to 4 yr olds, universal preschool.  They want all the young ages, birth to 5.  Feel it’s best to start a 4 yr and younger mixed delivery, so that all the ages are caught into law.

 

Minnesota Future Farmers of American (FFA)

Juleah Tolosky, Exec. Secretary.  Minnesota Foundation for student organizations has had no funding in 10 years.   Asking for funding.

 

Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association

Amy Wahlstein, lobbyist.  50 groups have appliced for grants. 16 – 17 yr olds into work-based programs.  Need more equipment down in the schools to train students early.

 

Minnesota School Board Association  (MSBA)

Kim Lewison, Grace Kelliher, lobbyists.  3% formula increase.  Fully fund special education.  School-based mental health program.  Fully fund remaining grant applications for Safe Schools.  School board appoints new board member upon early retirement; School boards re-approve referendums, not voters.

 

Minnesota School Counselor Association

Tom Tillberry, lobbyist.  2016 grant program gave us 77 new support staff hired across the state.  Asking to fund the grant program.

 

Monticello School District

Tina Burkholder, teacher.  Asking for special ed aid.

 

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Sue Abderhold, lobbyist.  Rewritting student-linked mental health awareness bill, telemedicine & health; school support personnel; teacher training in mental health; school safety bill.

 

PACER Center

Gretchen Godfrey, lobbyist.  PACER serves children to 26 years with disabilities. Special ed funding.

 

Parent Teacher Association (MN)

Heather Tsjarks, president MN PTA.  1. Statewide advocacy, as found on the MN PTA web page.  2. Local advocacy, as found the MN PTA web page.  She requests legislators to be creative when listening to parent input.

 

Service MN (Americorps)

Josh Donnum (sp?), lobbyist.  Advocating for more money for MN Math Corp.

 

Schools for Equity in Education

Brad Lundell, lobbyist.  Fund social workers. Grant program for Worker Association.

 

Shakopee School District

Mike Redmond, Superintendent.  Increase funding formula; fully fund special education; School boards able to renew current levees; School Safety program.

 

SIEU

Kelly Gibbons, lobbyist.  special ed funding; unemployment insurance.  Inequity between high and low property taxes in communities.  School district employees need help with unemployment.

 

St. Paul Schools  (SPPS)

Mary Gilbert Dougherty, lobbyist.  Funding for medical services; IEP for health services; school readiness and program monies needed for testing flexibility for schools; no new mandates.

 

SW/WC Service Co-op/MN Service Co-op

Cliff Carmody, Executive Director.  Need for cooperative facility (SF 7) in rural settings; Mental health; expand career-technical education; need to replace current subjects for technical ed; transportation help needed; Delivery system for expertise to deliver across the state for K-12.

 

 

 

Keeping you informed on CCSS in Minnesota