Category Archives: Common Core State Standards

A Perfect Vision of Society Via Centralization… Again

ESSA Mandates flow to the districts

A “Perfect Vision of Society” Via Centralization… Again

“While everyone recognizes the benefits of knowledge, there are those who misinterpret our collective advancement as an invitation to exert control over society, and to impose a centralized structure onto the masses of people doing their own things, working, living, and pursuing happiness in their own ways… But neither the historical record nor the teachings of economics have deterred those who think they can do better, and time and time again, would-be planners and technocrats emerge to try to implement their perfect vision of society. Historical examples include Vladimir Lenin and Woodrow Wilson. More recent examples include Cass Sunstein, whose book Nudge is all about how planners can subtly manipulate people into behaving the “right” way, as well as any number of scientifically-minded people who think that Big Data can solve all mankind’s problems.” (Logan Albright, The More We Know, the Less We Know) Indeed! This is what those in power are imposing on the people of Minnesota.

FEDERAL CONTROL: Once again, our Minnesota Legislature chooses to intentionally dance to the tune of the federal government, their private financiers and its manipulative centralized reform system leaving our schools, teachers and parents held hostage to this latest plan. While implementing academic points, snooping private-school ombudsmen, furthering Preschool for ALL, regulating federal testing, and replacing academics with social and emotional learning (SEL) are possibly new elements to many Minnesotans, the bulk of the ESSA has been hatched over the last 50 years. Inclusively, ESSA brings back favorites like Outcome-Based education, GOALS 2000, and School to Work, while at the same time, portions of the Minnesota World’s Best Workforce, embedded in the ESSA State Plan, harken back to No Child Left Behind. Outcome-Based is repackaged as Competency-Based education, also known as SEL. School to Work has been aptly renamed College and Career Ready Standards, that evil twin sister to the repugnant and unpopular “Common Core”. Each state “wrote” their “state plan” from an existing federal DOE template. The plans are hardly original in ideology and collectively aligned to the feds and every other state with small changes.
How did our local school districts become federalized? For four years, MACC has been writing about just this topic. Since 1970, federal funding escalated, flowing to state DOEs and state school districts. 1994 saw GOALS 2000 and flexible standards. The U.S. Department of Education remunerated groups like the The Center on Civics… which were directed to rewrite curriculum and revisioning history, government and civics, establishing a national curriculum with the help of textbook companies. The goal was to teach students that America is a democracy, not a constitutional republic, thereby teaching socialism as a better way. Socialism is Big Government and centralization of authority. Increasing funding in 2002, No Child Left Behind required the adoption of a common set of english and math standards correlated with achievement goals along, measured by standardized testing for federal accountability. With the accepted funding, all federal policies were required and our state laws were amended to federal. Thirdly, federally-funded colleges of education were required to prepare teachers under the flexible national standards and curriculum as well as new modes of teaching, namely collectivism and constructivism (no truth, no facts, construct your own reality). This tied teacher education and training firmly into the federal reforms. States then passed laws that only teachers prepared by colleges of education could be hired to teach in public schools. Lastly, the Common Core “State” Standards brought inflexible standards, copyrighted by federal lobbyist organizations, promoted and incentivized by the U.S. Department of Education and its like-minded financiers.
Consequently, centralized authority accumulated as state laws were overturned by federal and through the acceptance of federal funding. It is not a requirement for states to follow federal education policies. We, in Minnesota, have given our authority and sovereignty away. The states and the local school districts, by United States Constitution and Minnesota Constitution, still have the authority to say, “No!” to federal dollars and federal policies.
PROCESS: The ESSA State Plan was developed by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and over 100 stakeholders. Those stakeholders appear to all swim in the same politically shaped fishbowl. http://education.state.mn.us/mdeprod/idcplg?IdcService=GET_FILE&dDocName=mde071837&RevisionSelectionMethod=latestReleased&Rendition=primary

Community meetings were also held in various parts of the state. Parents, teachers and citizens were given opportunity to offer concerns in hopes of amending our State Plan prior to federal submission. However, numerous parents voiced many concerns over (testing in particular), which apparently fell on deaf ears after the initial draft release. After the hearing testimony, it appears that testing was amended. Initial ESSA Draft Release, July 2017 http://www.senate.mn/committees/2017-2018/3091_Committee_on_E-12_Policy/Early%20Draft%20Minnesota%20State%20ESSA%20Plan%20for%20Legislative%20Review_July17%202017.pdf
Read the newest ESSA State Plan version.
http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/dse/ESSA/StatePlanPublicComment/
STATE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY: A legislative education committee was convened for a 2-hour hearing which included an MDE presentation of their plan and testimony from stakeholders and the public. The hearing occurred in mid-July 15 days prior to opening the draft for public comment. Authorizing the State Plan prior to a published draft via the Omnibus Education Bill, the legislature voted to pass the State Plan. Certainly, portions of the plan were in working stages and one could understand the intent, but the Plan had yet to be officially released. It was released two days prior to the legislative hearing. In other words, it appears the legislature voted to authorize the MDE plan before it was finished. Here is the language related to moving ahead with ESSA and aligning with World’s Best Workforce, from Sec. 53 of the Omnibus Education Bill, passed May 2017. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=120B.11
Subd. 1
COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION MUST SUBMIT ESSA PLAN TO LEGISLATURE.
Subdivision 1.
ESSA plan.
The commissioner of education must submit the state plan developed pursuant to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, United States Code, title 20, section 6311, to the education policy and finance committees of the legislature at least 30 days before submitting the plan to the United States Department of Education.
Subd. 2.
Alignment with World’s Best Workforce measures.
The state plan must be consistent and aligned, to the extent practicable, with the performance accountability measures required under Minnesota Statutes, section 120B.11, subdivision 1a, to create a single accountability system for all public schools.
This process seems to be quite out of order as the legislature relied completely on the MDE as a third party consultant. At the hearing, very few legislators questioned the plan with the exception of the Chair, Rep. Sondra Erickson, who was making notes to discuss with the MDE at a later date. We appreciate involvement and engagement from our legislators! Perhaps many of the legislators had never read the139 page plan due to the draft coming out only 2 days earlier. I believe many in Minnesota would prefer to see our legislature take a more hands-on approach, considering their Constitutional duty.
MINNESOTA CONSTITUTION: According to Article XIII of the Minnesota Constitution,
“Uniform System of Public Schools: The stability of a republican form of government depending mainly upon the intelligence of the people, it is the duty of the legislature to establish a general and uniform system of public schools. The legislature shall make such provisions by taxation or otherwise as will secure a thorough and efficient system of public schools throughout the state.[1]” https://www.revisor.mn.gov/constitution/#article_14

What stands out in your mind as you read this Constitutional law, which our legislators are sworn to uphold? “Stability of republican form of government”? “Depending mainly upon the intelligence of the people”? “Establish general system of public schools”? Important to note, a nationalized education program is Socialist and MACC has certainly shown for years that the standards and curricular systems are inferior. As with any centralized system, the plan is heavily regulated and certainly not “general” which would give the majority of decisions to the local area.
STATE CONTROL: Minnesotans have another problem and we may be the only state in the nation. Not only has Minnesota’s legislature authorized the centralized education system but additionally authorized a state accountability structure to further control and regulate Minnesota schools and school boards. The Minnesota World’s Best Workforce, statute 120B.11, was passed in 2013 down party line, heavily DFL at the time. However, under Republican leadership, the accountability practices of the MWBW are now embedded into the ESSA plan to, “Create(s) a single accountability system for all public schools”.
The intrusive MWBW is the most local control-busting piece of legislation to hit our school districts. According to the ESSA State Plan, “the MWBW aligns budgets and decision-making to the overall state goals”. In other words, our state MDE will direct and lead each school district. That’s not local control! In the end, the feds took over the states through federal grants and policies adopted into state law. Then the state took over the school districts through same methodology, using federal and further state law, amending district policies to match. What some call school district “local control” is not the true local control that America once had.
Four years ago, MACC members across the state attended their local school district meetings to hear the first “school district accountability plan” for the MWBW and to protest giving up local authority to the state. That MWBW plan had been advanced through “stakeholders”, not necessarily the public. The MWBW was the former curriculum statute for Minnesota. Amended, in particular, was the complexion of the curriculum committee for each school. In the pre-2013 statute, a curriculum committee could be composed of teachers and parents for a particular school. But now that we have the cookie-cutter curriculum and standards in every school, curriculum committee members are invited, review for the entire district, meeting in large groups. Here is Statute 120B.11 entitled, “SCHOOL DISTRICT PROCESS FOR REVIEWING CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION, AND STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT; STRIVING FOR THE WORLD’S BEST WORKFORCE”.
Statute 120B.11 Subd. 4. Site Team. “A school must establish a site team to develop and implement strategies and education effectiveness practices to improve instruction, curriculum, cultural competencies, including cultural awareness and cross-cultural communication, and student achievement at the school site, consistent with subdivision 2. The site team must include an equal number of teachers and administrators and at least one parent. The site team advises the board and the advisory committee about developing the annual budget and creates an instruction and curriculum improvement plan to align curriculum, assessment of student progress, and growth in meeting state and district academic standards and instruction.”
Historically, note the language of this same statute only 13 years prior, in 2000, and merely titled, “School District Process.”

A district advisory committee, to the extent possible, shall reflect the diversity of the district and its learning sites, and shall include teachers, parents, support staff, pupils, and other community residents. The district may establish building teams as subcommittees of the district
advisory committee under subdivision 4. The district advisory committee shall recommend to the school board districtwide education standards, assessments, and program evaluations. Learning sites may expand upon district evaluations of instruction, curriculum, assessments, or programs. Whenever possible, parents and other community residents shall comprise at least two-thirds of advisory committee members.”

The 2000 version is much closer to “true local control”. The curriculum, instruction, assessment and program committee is gathered from the school district parents and community residents, all who reside in the district, pay taxes for that district and whose children are directly affected.
The 2013-2017 version of Statute 120B.11 is a great loss of local control. The bulk of the committee is made up by teachers and administrators, many who may not reside inside the school district. An administrator or teacher who is also a parent have been that “atleast one parent” invited to the committee, but might not reside in the district. Under MWBW language, there is the possibility that no one on the committee to discuss standards, assessments, curriculum, instruction, etc. might even reside in the district and be directly affected.
Now that we have established WHO is in charge, WHAT are the performance measures of the Minnesota World’s Best Workforce mentioned in Subdivision 2 above? The performance measures dictate to schools what they must do, at the very least, starting with data collection to measure various components to include academic achievement gap, rigorous course taking and enrichment experiences, performance on MCAs, graduation rates and college and career readiness. All of this requires lots and lots of testing.
“Subd. 1a.Performance measures.
Measures to determine school district and school site progress in striving to create the world’s best workforce must include at least:
(1) the size of the academic achievement gap, rigorous course taking under section 120B.35, subdivision 3, paragraph (c), clause (2), and enrichment experiences by student subgroup;
(2) student performance on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments;
(3) high school graduation rates; and
(4) career and college readiness under section 120B.30, subdivision 1.”

Where does that leave us? The ESSA Titles I, II, III, etc. are set as place holders within the grant.  And all to promote a “perfect society” transforming students into their cookie-cutter visions. They frame all the questions and give the people a few answers from which to choose. This is not diversity or equity. (More to come on diversity, equity and cookie-cutter visions!)

Public commentary is now open until August 31st.   This is our opportunity to be involved! The public comment link may be found here. http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3743085/Minnesota-Every-Student-Succeeds-Act-State-Plan-Public-Comment-Survey

 

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MACC CALL TO ACTION! ESSA Federal Grant Hearing

MACC all children banner (1)

MACC CALL TO ACTION: ESSA Federal Grant Hearing

MDE’s DANGEROUS STATE PLAN for ESSA Act FEDERAL GRANT
LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE HEARING
Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 1:00 – 3:00pm, Room 5, State Office Building, St. Paul

NOW: Email House Education Committee Chairs:
Rep. Sondra Erickson rep.sondra.erickson@house.mn
Sen. Eric Pratt sen.eric.pratt@senate.mn

Tell them “NO” to the “MCA student failure labeling” when parents refuse the federally-aligned tests.

Opting out is a parent’s prerogative to protest the adoption of federalized standards, curriculum, data collection and aligned testing. To mandate the federal tests for ALL students is to close the FINAL DOOR ON LOCAL CONTROL, thus federalizing our Minnesota schools and contradicting our own state law.  Opting out of federal testing and/or curriculum remains a parent’s right!

When the No Child Left Behind Waiver, Race to the Top K-12 and Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge federal grants were submitted in 2010 and 2011, we at MACC had not yet understood the dangers inherent in these federal regulations. Our limited actions in 2013 involved reading the federal law/grant applications and corresponding changes in state law, as well as, listening to archived deliberations of the legislative committee. We now have a great opportunity!!!

NEXT WEDNESDAY, a legislative committee from the House and Senate will convene to review, hear testimony and adopt the MDE State Plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The ESSA is another federal set of intrusive regulations from the already burgeoning Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which contains over 1,000 pages. Many of us attended the MDE ESSA public meetings and met like-minded individuals with similar concerns. Unfortunately, our and many others’ input fell on deaf ears. The MDE did not embed public input into our state plan.   This time, the legislature is in charge of looking over the plan prior to adoption and submission to the feds.

At issue: Linking MCA Federal-Accountability Testing (which aligns to the federal standards and international curriculum) to student proficiency. Students will now receive points for exceeding, meeting or partially meeting proficiency. What’s new? If parents opt their kids out of testing, the student will receive no points and declared, “not proficient”. What will the labeling and consequences of “not proficient” mean for some of our highest-achieving students whose families annually choose to opt out.
Why is MACC concerned with the MCA testing and the ability to opt out?
1. The federal accountability testing (MCA for Minnesota) is the last nail in the coffin to fully realize a federalized education program for America. A federalized education program is unlawful, unconstitutional and leads us down that road where “the state” is the final authorizer and arbiter of educating and raising children.

2. By adopting the ESSA testing refusal point system failure-rating, Minnesota laws will now sanction and penalize parental voice. Only those approved parental voices who compliantly praise the federal testing program will be allowed.

3. By adopting the ESSA, Minnesota will be fully adopting all the federalized standards, including the Common Core standards and College-and-Career Ready Standards for English and Math. These standards are fully embedded in ESSA, unless the MDE has an exception for Math, as well as the next iteration, Competency-Based Education, the online-only option for schools. The ESSA federal tests align to these federal standards.

4. The online education companies are run by 3rd-party corporate entities from far, far away. This move will “lock down” testing, as well as remove parental engagement regarding standards, curriculum and aligned testing.

5. The MCAs tests align with the 3rd-party corporate national curriculum.

6. The Minnesota statute 120B.11 (Minnesota’s World’s Best Workforce) has already diminished a parent’s role in curricular engagement through mandating huge 30-member curriculum teams which heretofore were intimate curriculum meetings between a few teachers and parents.
7. Testing is in fact a part of curriculum. Testing is curriculum. Curricular decisions to review and opt out, found in Minnesota Statute 120B.20 will be diminished if not annulled.

8. Further reason that Minnesota parents may want to opt their children out of MCAs is that the MCA’s are a Pearson product. Pearson states directly on their website that they align with the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals. This alignment structures and embeds international curriculum and testing content into Minnesota school curriculum and tests.   Pearson represents neither local control or parental rights.
This is just how dangerous removing that last bit of local control and parental authority over testing and curriculum will be! MACC invites you to reach out and contact Rep Sondra Erickson and Senator Eric Pratt, Committee Chairs for the ESSA Plan Hearing, at your earlier convenience. Consider contacting your personal representative and senator. A quick email from each of us will make a dramatic impact.
Thank you in advance for advocating for Minnesota’s children!

 

ALERT! Dangerous New MACC-Imitator Looking for a Handout

CFIF donation page

ALERT!!!     MACC HAS A DANGEROUS NEW IMITATOR

If you have received a letter like the one posted above, do not be fooled.  This is from a “think tank” in Washington D.C. and is not an actual Minnesota organization.  They are using our old name to try and illicit money from you.

And while their message of Common Core being dangerous is actually what we have been touting for many years, our mission has evolved as the challenges our children face comes from a variety of sources at the Federal and State level dealing not with just standards, but also curriculum, testing, data mining, workforce development, privacy and parental rights.

“Minnesotans Against Common Core” is funded by a “conservative” think tank called the Center for Individual Freedom.  Their PO Box is in Washington DC.  Unfortunately, their message is a little antiquated, and we could have really used their help with defending against ESSA, especially since elected officials of their own persuasion were so instrumental in jamming it through.

This is even more confusing since one of our very own Republican State Senators announced just last week in a committee hearing, “We don’t have Common Core in Minnesota”, and “We, in the Education Committee, aren’t concerned with Common Core”.  Somebody had better figure out their story.

So please, don’t confuse MACC – Minnesota Advocates and Champions for Children, an actual Minnesota-based grassroots organization fighting for our children, parental rights and local control, with this questionable organization from Washington D.C.

But if you would like to donate some money, we would gladly receive it.  We haven’t really asked for much over our four years of meeting and working with legislators at the Capitol as concerned parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. as well as working with Minnesotans in group presentations and individual consults. And unfortunately, if the statements from the Senator are any indication, we have a lot of work yet to do.

 

 

 

 

ALERT! SF 1475 Time is Short. MAKE CALLS Today and Tomorrow!

 

SLP Teacher testifies on SF 1475

St. Louis Park teacher testifies in opposition to SF 1475

ALERT!  Make your calls and emails now concerning Senate File 1475.  We have until Friday morning at 9:00am when the hearing will take place for possible passage. The bill has already passed one committee late last week.   Tell the Senators to vote “NO” on SF 1475 if parental rights and local control are important to you.

 

CALL NOW:  Senator Eric Pratt  651-296-4123

 

                                sen.eric.pratt@senate.mn

 

        Senator Gary Dahms  651-296-8138

 

sen.gary.dahms@senate.mn

 

                       Senator Roger Chamberlain 651-296-1253

 

                                 sen.roger.chamberlain@senate.mn

 

                        Senator Carla Nelson 651-296-4848

 

                                 sen.carla.nelson@senate.mn

 

Senate File 1475 pushes further the embedding of Common Core system-wide tests into our schools.  The MCA Standardized Test is the FEDERAL Common Core test meant to measure system-level accountability. Call it a “state test” if you must, but we are cognizant that these are the federally-mandated tests. These scores have nothing to do with student achievement. The MDE themselves have stated over and over that the MCAs are not to be used for student achievement.

 

For four years, MACC’s primary themes have revolved around parental rights and local control.  Here are a few important points.

 

1.      Minnesota has witnessed a considerable decrease in parental rights and local control since MACC began studying the Common Core initiative system of standards, curriculum, testing, data collection and workforce development.  Our standards have been rewritten to federal in every subject area.

 

2.      SF 1475 will remove parent’s last little bit of freedom in guiding their children’s education within the Common Core system.  The MCAs are the federally-mandated Common Core tests that measure system-level accountability and does not measure individual student achievement.  The MCAs measure our compliancy with Common Core Standards.

 

3.      Although opting out remains an option for every family, by financial incentivizing MCA testing within the basic formula, districts and teachers will have no choice but to push for a higher percentage of test-takers.  The MCAs take up a considerable amount of time with prep testing and curricular prepping, promoting a system of standards that most parents do not support.

 

4.      Local control has become more dictatorial among superintendents and school boards.  SF 1475 gives more dictatorial control to school districts and their “stakeholders” by dismissing parents and incorporating a “carrot and stick” approach.

 

5.      By furthering a federally-led education curriculum, the intent brings into question our State Constitution, and it’s requirement of a locally-developed curriculum.

 

Frustratingly, parents feel that they have little voice in their school districts and at school board meetings.  Of course, this fact does not deter parents.  SF 1475 will continue to erode that freedom we now enjoy by causing undo pressure from the disticts to onto the parents mandating that their children take the MCAs or the district will loose much-need funding. 

 

What can we do?  How can we amend this bill?  In reading the ESSA Rules ourselves, we can see easily that each state may adopt their own state plan. We have been handed a golden opportunity to create our own plan.  Let’s make the most of it!  Let’s take a look at what the ESSA has to say to states and subsequently, compare how Minnesota is considering implementing the MCA testing into our state law.  I believe you’ll see that that Minnesota has decided to go more “stringent” than the ESSA requires via the letter and intent of the law.  Thanks to FairTest for pulling out the pertinent test and opt out language in ESSA.  http://www.fairtest.org/federal-law-and-regulations-opting-out-under-essa

 

Federal Law on Opting Out Under ESSA:

 

The U.S. Congress has canceled Department of Education (DoE) regulations regarding accountability.  MACC reported on this cancellation last week.  This includes regulations that would have governed test participation, the requirement to test 95% of all students, and federally mandated accountability consequences. As a result, states must turn to the language of the law itself, at least until the DoE provides new regulatory language. States may impose more stringent requirements than does ESSA.

 

Language on testing and accountability:

 

1003(b)(2) is the section (‘paragraph’) requiring testing.

 

1003(c) is the section on accountability. Within that:

 

‘‘(E) ANNUAL MEASUREMENT OF ACHIEVEMENT.—(i) Annually measure the achievement of not less than 95 percent of all students, and 95 percent of all students in each subgroup of students, who are enrolled in public schools on the assessments described under subsection (b)(2)(v)(I).

 

‘‘(ii) For the purpose of measuring, calculating, and reporting on the indicator described in subparagraph (B)(i) [FT: the statewide test indicator], include in the denominator the greater of—

 

‘‘(I) 95 percent of all such students, or 95 percent of all such students in the subgroup, as the case may be; or

 

‘‘(II) the number of students participating in the assessments.

 

‘‘(iii) Provide a clear and understandable explanation of how the State will factor the requirement of clause (i) of this subparagraph into the statewide accountability system.”

 

Language on opting out:

 

1111(b)(2)(K): “RULE OF CONSTRUCTION ON PARENT RIGHTS.—

 

“Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed as preempting a State or local law regarding the decision of a parent to not have the parent’s child participate in the academic assessments under this paragraph.”

 

1112(e)(2)(A): 

 

“(2) TESTING TRANSPARENCY.—

 

“(A) IN GENERAL.—At the beginning of each school year, a local educational agency that receives funds under this part shall notify the parents of each student attending any school receiving funds under this part that the parents may request, and the local educational agency will provide the parents on request (and in a timely manner), information regarding any State or local educational agency policy regarding student participation in any assessments mandated by section 1111(b)(2) and by the State or local educational agency, which shall include a policy, procedure, or parental right to opt the child out of such assessment, where applicable.”

 

On March 13, DoE issued a “template” for states to submit their ESSA plans. It asks states, “Describe how the State factors the requirement for 95 percent student participation in statewide mathematics and reading/language arts assessments into the statewide accountability system.”

 

The ESSA law shows us more clearly:

 

1.       While states must administer statewide assessments/tests, nothing in federal law requires students to take them.

 

2.      ESSA contains no requirement that states punish schools or districts which have high rates of refusal.

 

3.      “States have to take into account what happens to a school if the individual school fails to meet the 95 percent participation requirement within the state accountability system. But this can be very flexible. A state could choose a variety of outcomes—including that test participation has no impact on a school’s identification (emphasis added):… It is up to the state.”

 

4.      Min  “A state can, as required, report test participation rates using at least 95% of all eligible students as the denominator. It can then use only the scores of those who take the test in calculating test-based accountability indicators (proficiency scores, growth scores, ELL language proficiency test scores). This would enable states to report average scores with the denominator of at least 95%, to not include scores of refusers in identifying “low performing” schools, and to take no specific steps against schools with lower test participation rates. A state can also separately publish results from only students who took the test (denominator is number of test takers) and report the number of students who did not take the test.”

 

5.      “Under current federal laws and regulations, low participation by itself does should not lead to a school being declared low performing. States should not punish schools or districts because of parent actions in order to forestall federal “requirements” that do not exist.”

 

Now how does our prefaced Minnesota SF 1475 bill set up our state plan?  The language of SF 1475 states,

 

Senate File 1475 is coding a new law 120B.361 into existence.  The introduction of the bill tells the story.  A bill for an act relating to education; creating financial incentives for school districts to help students and families understand state standards and encourage MCA and MTAS testing participation.  In fact, this bill will financially reward districts for high-percentage test-taking as well as to help students and families understand and enjoy the Common Core Standards better! 

 

Here is the purpose of the bill: Pay off districts to push high test participation.  Financial incentives will absolutely drive administrators and teachers to push children and parents to take the tests.  And schools hold the keys to grading and a child’s very future career.

 

Subdivision 1.

 

Purpose.

 

To help improve student and family understanding of state
standards and statewide testing required under section 120B.30, the financial incentives
provided in this section shall apply to all school districts and charter schools that receive
general education aid under section 126C.10, subdivision 2.

 

 

 

How will the basic formula be amended?  (This is the compensation that schools receive annually.)

 

 

 

Subd. 3.

 

Participation incentives.

 

(a) Each year, in confirming the amount of the formula
allowance increase a district or charter school will receive for the next fiscal year, the
department must take into account the district’s MCA and MTAS testing participation rates
under this subdivision.

 

(b) If a district’s or charter school’s grades 3 to 8 participation rate and high school
participation rate are both greater than or equal to 95 percent, the district or charter school
will receive 100 percent of the formula allowance under section 126C.10, subdivision 2.

 

(c) If a district’s or charter school’s grades 3 to 8 participation rate or high school
participation rate or both are less than 95 percent, for the next fiscal year only, the district
will receive a percentage of the formula allowance increase equal to the all-grades
participation rate.

 

 

 

As you can easily see, our state plan is much more stringent than the ESSA federal grant program!  The problem comes with reporting the 95 percent.  Minnesota is required to report the 95 percent but is tasked to create their own plan or “consequence” if 95 percent is not met, that is, due to opt outs.  For example. they could require districts to inquire why less than 95 percent of parents are refusing the Common Core test, the MCAs.  The “consequence” can be hard or light.  Minnesota can choose! Instead, the SF 1475 elects to more stringently punish school districts through financially incentives that will surely push parents into testing using the 95 percent “rule” when in fact, there is no federal requirement for how we choose to reward or punish districts. 

 

A quick word about Local Control:  If passed, school districts will have additional “local control” to bully parents into compliance.  Local control in all our school districts is best described as dictatorial superintendents and their rubber-stamping school board members.  This is not true local control!  Local control is the foundation which places constituents (not “stakeholders”) in charge, who elect school board members, who in turn serve those constituents.  Our Constitutional Republic is flipped, and no thanks to SF 1475, which continues this expansion of district dictatorial “local control”.

 

And what about your constituents?  Where are we to turn?  What about parental rights?  I hope these ideas are not lost to our Senators!  By furthering a federally-led education curriculum, the intent brings into question the violation of our State Constitution, and it’s requirement of a state- developed curriculum.

 

We ask that you read the ESSA Rules again and start over.    We have done extensive research on this law and it’s effects, and ask that you ask these Senators look to MACC for guidance.

 

Linda Bell, Kerstin Schulz, Chris Daniels, Anne Taylor, Jennifer Black-Allen

 

Minnesota Advocates and Champions for Children, a non-partisan grassroots group

 

 

 

Again, if this parental rights and local control are important to you, tell the senators, “NO” on SF 1475.

 

CALL NOW:  Senator Eric Pratt  651-296-4123

 

                                sen.eric.pratt@senate.mn

 

        Senator Gary Dahms  651-296-8138

 

sen.gary.dahms@senate.mn

 

                       Senator Roger Chamberlain 651-296-1253

 

                          sen.roger.chamberlain@senate.mn

 

                        Senator Carla Nelson 651-296-4848

 

                          sen.carla.nelson@senate.mn