All posts by higherstand

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…

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.”

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!

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…

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.”

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 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
– 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.



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.




In Their Own Words: WHO Is Behind President Trump’s BIG WORKFORCE Initiative

Reorganization and Reform Plan

In Their Own Words:  WHO is Behind President Trump’s BIG WORKFORCE Initiative, Part I

 The Office of Management and Budget, federal agencies and departments recently unveiled a reorganization plan of the federal government.  The plan is said to be a necessity, due redundant and outdated policy and, of course, fiscal responsibility.  Much of this is true. Merging the Department of Education and Labor is the #1 goal among the various missions of the reorganization plan.  The reorganization plan points to a much longer document titled, “The President’s Agenda: Strategic Workforce Management, which spells out better how the American workforce will be managed from the Federal government.

What exactly did Trump request?  In March 2017, not long after taking office, Trump released his Executive Order tasking the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to examine all executive departments and agencies.

“Based on this input, we will develop a detailed plan to make the federal government work better, reorganizing, consolidating and eliminating where necessary. In other words, making the federal government more efficient and very, very cost productive.  So we’re going to do something, I think, very, very special.”

The OMB and agencies quickly responded delivering the vision one month later.

“Today, OMB issued a reform plan, “Comprehensive Plan for Reforming the Federal Government and Reducing the Federal Civilian Workforce,” to chart the course for a restrained, effective, and accountable Government to better serve the American people.”

*To understand more about the OMB, the agency describes itself as, “OMB carries out its mission through five critical processes that are essential to the President’s ability to plan and implement his priorities across the Executive Branch:

  1. Budget development and execution.
  2. Management, including oversight of agency performance, human capital, Federal procurement, financial management, and information technology.
  3. Regulatory policy, including coordination and review of all significant Federal regulations by executive agencies.
  4. Legislative clearance and coordination.
  5. Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda.

Mick Mulvaney is the director of the OMB and Betsy DeVos is the secretary of the US Department of Education.

There are two documents which clearly show the intent of the OMB, agency heads and the president:

  1. Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century: Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendations
  2. The President’s Management Agenda: Strategic Workforce Management

The President’s “FY 2019 Budget:  Strengthening the Federal Workforce” is due out later this fall.

The federal Reorganization document, “The Opportunity” (pg. 23) raises many alarming questions.  It states, “The workforce development program consolidation would centralize and better coordinate Federal efforts to train the American workforce, reduce administrative costs, and make it easier for State and localities to run programs to meet the comprehensive needs of their workforce.”

Neither the Reorganization Plan nor the Strategic Workforce Management initiative discuss education in terms of academics.  These documents only discuss the “skills” needed for the workforce.  This language is reminiscent of the language of the National Goals (George HW Bush), GOALS 2000 and School-to-Work (Bill & Hillary Clinton), SCANS Documents (US Dept of Labor – Clintons), and later federal education grants.  For Minnesotans, this was the language of OBE and the Profiles of Learning.  And, of course, we can’t forget Marc Tucker’s, Dear Hillary Letter!

Certainly, there’s another way to reduce the federal debt and consolidate some programs across agencies.   However, no amount of money saved is worth taking the plunge into a government-managed economy for our country’s children, families, employers and workers, which in the end, translates into removing liberty from every citizen.


Private Sexual Information Important to Prior Lake-Savage Schools; Zero Thought Given to following Federal, State and Local School Board Laws & Policies

Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools Home Page

Private Sexual Information Important to Prior Lake–Savage Schools and Without Parental Notification; Zero Thought Given to following Federal, State and Local School Board Laws & Policies

by Linda Bell

Prior Lake decided to administer an illegal and intrusive survey on sexual issues as well as other topics in the waning days of 2017-2018 school year.  Who would know?  The kids did!  Kids as young as 10 and 11! The survey is marked, “required”. “I think our school board and administration know that asking a sixth-grader if they are “having sex” is personal,” stated Wes Mader, former Prior Lake mayor.

On June 6th, the district assigned all 6th, 7th and 8th grade students to take a survey on Google docs.  Where is that survey information now?  To whom has the school shared or sold this personal student information?  Parents quickly brought this to the attention of the Prior Lake administration and school board, but as of today… crickets!

Were parents notified?  No!  Parents did not receive an email, call or other notification.  Students were surprised about the survey as well as nature of the questions.

Did Prior Lake-Savage Schools break the law?  Indeed they did!  Minnesota Statute 121A.065 states that surveys must be given with, “direct and timely notice.”  Direct and timely notice alone constitute an illegality.  But there’s more!  Here’s the full statute.


(a) School districts and charter schools, in consultation with parents, must develop and adopt policies on conducting student surveys and using and distributing personal information on students collected from the surveys. School districts and charter schools must:

(1) directly notify parents of these policies at the beginning of each school year and after making any substantive policy changes;

(2) inform parents at the beginning of the school year if the district or school has identified specific or approximate dates for administering surveys and give parents reasonable notice of planned surveys scheduled after the start of the school year;

(3) give parents direct, timely notice, by United States mail, e-mail, or other direct form of communication, when their students are scheduled to participate in a student survey; and

(4) give parents the opportunity to review the survey and to opt their students out of participating in the survey.

(b) School districts and charter schools must not impose an academic or other penalty upon a student who opts out of participating in a survey under paragraph (a).


  1. Were parents directly notified at the beginning of each school year about survey policies, which were to be adopted in 2016?
  2. Were parents informed at the beginning of the school year regarding this school-wide survey? Or at any other instance prior to the survey?
  3. Were parents given direct timely notice? We know that answer to be no.
  4. Were parents given an opportunity to review the survey and possibly opt out their students from participation?
  5. Would Prior Lake understand that they cannot impose an academic or other penalty upon a student who opts out?

According to Prior Lake–Savage’s own School Board Policy Manual (pg. 1 Student Surveys in General)    C. Surveys containing questions pertaining to the student’s or the student’s parent(s) or guardian(s) personal beliefs or practices in sex, family life, morality and religion will not be administered to any student unless the parent or guardian of the student is provided with notification that such survey is to be administered. Parents or guardians of the student will have the opportunity to have the student opt out of the survey.”  This policy appears to be in alignment with Statute 121.065.

 Later in the same section (pg. 2), we find this paragraph regarding funding requirements of the US Department of Education.  “B. No student shall be required, as part of any program funded in whole or in part by the U.S. Department of Education, without the prior consent of the student (if the student is an adult or emancipated minor) or, in the case of an emancipated minor, without the prior written consent of the parent, to submit to a survey that reveals information concerning: 1. political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent; 2. mental and psychological problems of the student or the student’s family; 3. sex behavior or attitudes; 4. illegal, antisocial, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior; 5. critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships; 6. legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers; 7. religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent; or 8. income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program).”

 And once again on pg. 3 under “Annual Notice.”

“Annual Parental Notification

  1. The district will provide notice annually of when surveys are expected to be administered. Notice will be at the beginning of the school year, and within a reasonable period of time after any substantive change in a policy.
  2. The school district must inform parents at the beginning of the school year if the district or school has identified specific or approximate dates for administering surveys and give parents reasonable notice of planned surveys scheduled after the start of the school year. The school district must give parents direct, timely notice when their students are scheduled to participate in a student survey by United States mail, e-mail, or another direct form of communication.
  3. The notice will provide parents with an opportunity to opt out of participation in the following activities:

1. Activities involving the collection, disclosure, or use of personal information collected from students for the purpose of marketing or for selling that information, or otherwise providing that information to others for that purpose.    2. The administration of any third-party survey (non-Department of Education funded) containing one or more of the items contained in Section IV.B., above.  3. The school district must give parents the opportunity to review the survey and to opt their students out of participating in the survey.”   Prior Lake – Savage School Board Policies may be found here.

 Obviously, Prior Lake–Savage administrators were very well aware of what they were doing and pushed parents out of the picture and children under the bus.  Parents of this district and every district should make sure that school board policies have been updated and that the administrators are following the school board policies!!!  It’s likely time for a little court action in Prior Lake-Savage.

 Former Prior Lake Mayor, Wes Mader, stated what many parents are feeling, “Until the district stops filtering, censoring or limiting what parents and the public are entitled to know, many will continue to question their motives and actions. If the board doesn’t restore accountability and transparency to the district, lack of trust will continue, which is a sad state of affairs for students, teachers, residents, and tax payers.”

Prior Lake-Savage Middle School Year End Survey 2018 *REQUIRED

Prior Lake survey 2018 pg 1

Prior Lake survey 2018 pg 2

Prior Lake survey 2018 pg 3

Prior Lake survey 2018 pg 4

Prior Lake survey 2018 pg 5