Monday, March 21, 2005

Minnesota's anti-NCLB efforts gaining steam

Of the 10 or so states currently challenging NCLB, Minnesota is the one we might be hearing the most about once Utah's case is resolved. Today, the Minnesota Senate passed two resolutions against the law. As the article points out, they don't mean much except that the Senate is united in its opposition and might -- if the Department of Education won't compromise -- be open to opting out:

The Senate overwhelmingly passed resolutions calling for changes in the school testing and accountability law as well as a halt to additional high school testing, which President Bush has proposed to expand.

Such resolutions amount largely to statements of legislators' wishes. But they could pave the way for stronger bills currently in the works. Those bills would nullify the law in Minnesota unless the federal government eases up on what many educators see as the law's unreasonable expectations for student performance and overly stringent sanctions for schools that don't meet those goals. Such bills are currently being considered at the committee level.

... "If you believe in local control, then you should be concerned about the growing role of the federal government in education," said Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina, sponsor of a resolution calling for a moratorium on additional No Child Left Behind tests in high school. "We don't want another chunk of No Child Left Behind thrown upon our high schools. ... Let's tell the feds, 'no more, not today.' "

There already is some No Child Left Behind testing in Minnesota high schools, including a 10th-grade reading test, an 11th-grade math test and a science test that will be given starting in the 2007-08 school year in one of the high school grades. Michel's resolution passed 63 to 0.

63-0. Ouch. The article does go on to say that Gov. Pawlenty supports NLCB; I don't know anything about Minnesota's constitution but I'm pretty sure 63-0 can override a veto anywhere.


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