New Minnesota Law Says Parents Must Be Consulted About Surveys

Photo credit: Alexius Horatius (CC-By-SA 3.0)

Photo credit: Alexius Horatius (CC-By-SA 3.0)

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed a law yesterday that provides parents with input and schools with guidance about parental notification in terms of surveys.  These surveys can be very intrusive.

Minnesotans Against Common Core have pushed this bill, and this is a huge win for parents. They describe the bill this way:

Minnesota Statute 121A.065 states that school districts and charter schools must develop and adopt policies on conducting student surveys and their distribution IN CONSULTATION WITH PARENTS.  This is about as close to local control as one gets!  Additionally, school districts and charter schools must:

  1. Directly notify parents of these policies at the beginning of each school year
  2. Directly notify parents after making any substantive changes
  3. Inform parents at the beginning of the year if the district or school has identified specific or approximate dates for administering survevys
  4. Give parents reasonable notice of planned surveys scheduled after the start of the year
  5. Give parents direct, timely notice, by United States mail, email, or other direct form of communication, when the students are scheduled to participate in a student survey
  6. Give parents the opportunity to review the survey and to opt their students out of participating in the survey
  7. 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).

They provide the text of the statute.

Minnesota House Advances Legislative Oversight of Education Standards to Dayton’s Desk

I wrote last month about the Minnesota Legislature’s fight against the federal takeover of education being cheered on by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.  The Minnesota Senate passed Senate File 1656 which required legislative approval before any education standard could be implemented by the Minnesota Department of Education.  It was authored by State Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) and State Representative Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton) and passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

Education Liberty Watch reported that this legislation is important not only to prevent the Common Core State Standards, but also in order to attempt to fix the “absolutely awful revision” of Minnesota’s social studies standards.  The good news is that the Minnesota House also passed SF 1656 on a partisan vote (71-61) on Monday.  The bad news is that it is likely that Governor Dayton will veto this bill again unless he has enough Minnesotans applying pressure.

Minnesota Legislature Fights Against Dayton Administration and Federal Takeover of Education

mnstatecapitolWhile I’m concerned about the online education mandate that the Minnesota Legislature is debating, there is good news on the education front in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.   The Minnesota Senate last month passed Senate File 1656 which requires legislative approval before any academic standards can be implemented.  Education Liberty Watch reports that the Minnesota House Education Reform Committee passed the companion to the Senate bill.

They write:

The House bill authored by Rep. Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton), chairwoman of the House Education Reform Committee, simply requires that there be approval by the people’s representatives in the legislature before the state department of education would adopt future Common Core Standards such as happened with the English language arts standards under the Pawlenty administration or the wholesale rewriting that is producing the very revisionist social studies standards being put in place by the Dayton administration. That bill passed the committee essentially on a party line voice vote (audio available here starting at about 27:28 with Dr. Effrem’s testimony at about 1:07 A written version of her similar recent Senate testimony is available here).

They also note a companion bills introduced in the House and Senate which would push back against the Obama Administration’s requirement that a state adopts the Common Core State Standards in order to receive a No Child Left Behind waiver.

The other big development is the introduction of a bill, HF 2905 by Representative Bob Barrett (R-Schafer), and SF 2928 by Senators Sean Nienow (R-Cambridge) and David Hann (R-Eden Prairie), to require the commissioner of education to seek Minnesota’s own waiver to No Child Left Behind based on the state’s needs and laws. This would be in place of the illegal, unconstitutional, conditional and temporary waiver that Minnesota received from the Obama administration, one that among its other problems, in essence requires the Common Core Standards. This bill enjoyed wide bipartisan support during the 2008 legislative session when the Democrats were in control of the legislature and passed the House floor unanimously as an amendment by Rep. Carolyn Laine (DFL- Columbia Heights) to the education finance omnibus bill. Sadly, it was removed from the omnibus bill after a veto threat by then Governor Tim Pawlenty.

We’ll watch to see how this progresses in the Minnesota House where it will likely face another veto by Governor Mark Dayton as he vetoed a similar bill last year when it was part of a omnibus education finance bill.