Rulemaking changes in education proposed

/ 13 March 2012 / jennifer

Erin Schmidtke, Session Daily, March 13, 2012 –

The education commissioner would need to receive legislative approval to adopt new academic standard rules.

This is the core idea of HF1847SF1656*, sponsored by Rep. Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton) and Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester). The bill would allow the commissioner to continue to review and revise school standards and benchmarks, but would require specific legislation to authorize those revisions as official rules.

The House Education Reform Committee approved the bill and sent it to the House floor. The Senate passed it 39-26 March 1.

Erickson explained that the bill would create a necessary conversation about how rules are created and effect schools on a daily basis.

“The reason that I am carrying this legislation is not necessarily because I agree with it. But I want to have a discussion about what I see happening not only in the area of teaching, but in our classrooms,” Erickson said.

She added that she would prefer fewer rules that allow teachers to meet knowledge- based guidelines in ways that fit their students’ needs best.

Education Department administrators asserted that current rulemaking is already effective. Government Relations Director Kevin McHenry said that the rulemaking process is intended to avoid the political arena, relying on input from citizens instead.

Rep. Mindy Greiling (DFL-Roseville) also expressed concern, saying that she opposes legislative involvement in rulemaking, except in the case of complicated or political issues in education. She suggested that rulemaking be restricted to the duration of the legislative session, so that lawmakers may have a chance to more easily review rule changes.

Karen Effrem, president of Education Liberty Watch, urged committee members to support the bill as a countermeasure to executive and federal involvement in education.

“It’s very important for the people’s representatives to weigh in,” she said.

– Erin Schmidtke