Herald JournalHerald and Journal, April 29, 2002

Commentary:

Could Profile of Learning finally be on its last legs?

By David Thompson
Executive Director
Maple River Ed. Coalition PAC

The Minnesota Senate still doesn't get it.

It again failed to eliminate the education debacle known as the Profile of Learning. This time, the Senate was only one vote short.

In contrast, the House, in true bi-partisan fashion, voted overwhelmingly to scrap the Profile: 109-22.

Why are teachers, parents, and students so upset with the Profile?

Among other things, the Profile dumbs down the curriculum and replaces it with busy-work projects and a focus on behaviors, values, and beliefs.

The liberal arts education that made our state second-to-none has been replaced as schools that have become job-training centers. Individual accomplishment is de-emphasized as the high standards, actually graded D standards, are imposed upon all students.

DFL Rep. Gene Pelowski, of Winona, said it well: "Anyone who's looked at it has said, 'By God, you took one of the best public school systems and destroyed it.'"

The bi-partisan vote of the House demonstrates that its members understand the frustrations of teachers, the lack of local control, and, most importantly, their constituents' opposition to the non-academic Profile of Learning imposed upon their children.

In the Senate, there is a chance for another vote. We hope that at least one more senator will listen to his/her constituents and vote YES to eliminating the Profile of Learning.

If your senator is listed below, they voted against eliminating the Profile. Please call and ask them to reconsider: Anderson, Berglin, Betzold, Chaudhary, Cohen, Foley, Fowler, Higgins, Hottinger, Johnson Dave, Johnson Dean, Johnson Doug, Kelly S. P., Kinkel, Krentz,

Lourey, Marty, Metzen, Moe R.D., Moua, Orfield, Pappas, Pogemiller, Price, Ranum, Ring, Robertson, Sabo, Scheid Solon Y.P., Stumpf, Tomassoni, Wiener. For more information visit our web site at www.mredcopac.org.

Maple River Education Coalition PAC is a statewide education organization of parents, teachers, and other concerned citizens that supports true high academic standards and local control.


By Morgan Brown
Executive Director
Minnesota Education League

Ever since its inception four years ago, the Profile of Learning has received a steady steam of well-deserved criticism.

This week, the Minnesota Senate came closer than ever before to approving an end to this ill-conceived mandate on schools and teachers.

On a tie vote of 33-33, the Senate narrowly avoided sending legislation to Governor Ventura that would finally repeal the Profile of Learning. (The House of Representatives had previously passed the bill by a vote of 109-22.)

As a result, Minnesota voters who care about education reform have a unique opportunity to ask if their Senator could have made the difference.

What would a repeal of the Profile of Learning mean for K-12 education in our state?

· For students, an increased exposure to challenging lessons that help build the knowledge and skills necessary for future success.

· For parents, an end to the frustration of watching their children waste countless hours on busywork projects that lack clear learning objectives.

· For teachers, the freedom to rely on experience and sound research in developing the best teaching methods for instructing their students.

· For schools, a reduction in the endless paper work and curriculum planning that pulls staff time and funding away from the classroom.

· For education reformers, an opportunity to develop rigorous standards in core academic areas (math, science, history) and rid our state of the stigma of having standards that are ranked among the worst in the nation.

With their votes to end the Profile of Learning, 26 Republican and 7 DFL senators demonstrated that they recognize its fatal flaws.

The only question remaining is why 33 of their colleagues continue to ignore the evidence and stick their heads in the sand.


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