Thursday, February 06, 2003


The pro-academics, anti-nationalization grassroots organization, the Maple River Education Coalition, gained a Page One story in the St. Paul Pioneer Press recently, "Anti-Profile Group Sees Victory Ahead." The 30-column-inch feature was about the growing opposition to Minnesota's Profile of Learning, the statewide graduation standards and assessment system that is very similar to what Nebraska's education establishment is attempting to build.

Nebraska could save itself a huge amount of time and money by studying what is happening in Minnesota.

Impact and clout are growing for the education activists, who have gained several champions in the Minnesota legislature as well as Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who agree that the Profile of Learning standards must be repealed to preserve Minnesota's already-excellent education system that was built with local control.

Go to Maple River Education Coalition's website for more on what they're doing. They oppose:

-- the dumbing down of curriculum to minimum standards

-- globalism at the expense of Americanism

-- forced assessments of nonacademic opinions, values and beliefs

-- career-tracking, job-training and child pigeonholing into set levels of schooling

Minnesota's standards were a tough sell to parents, teachers and the public, according to the article, but were slipped through with political maneuvering. Similar tactics worked in Nebraska as well, although Nebraska's standards and assessments are about three years behind Minnesota's in implementation.

Now that more Minnesotans are aware of the problems and more families have direct experience with the centrally-controlled system, the Profile of Learning is on the chopping block, and schools have a real chance of going back to local control and quality decision-making.

It'll be useful to watch how the organization continues to battle with state educrats, and oppose the nationalization of the "No Child Left Behind" federal education takeover.

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