K-12 Arts Standards Threatened

4/24/02

The following alert is forwarded to you from our friends at the Minnesota Alliance for Arts in Education, who work to ensure that the arts are available to all children in Minnesota Schools.

Arts Learning Alert: K-12 Arts Standards Threatened
Senate Members and the Governor Need to Hear the Positive Side of the Story on the Profile of Learning!

In Minnesota we have decided that all students in our public schools should learn in and through the arts as part of the comprehensive education they deserve. We worked together as a community of artists and educators for 11 years across disciplines and geographic distance to make the Arts and Literature a part of Minnesota’s High Standards (the Profile of Learning). Because of our actions, all 850,000 public K-12 Minnesota students must have access to arts learning of great depth. Our children must have direct opportunities to deeply engage in the arts “for their own sake” and to use the arts as a window to other content areas and competencies. No other state in the country does it like Minnesota. We value the arts for our children.Under the Profile of Learning, children from Kindergarten through 12th grade are expected to show evidence that they can respond to and appreciate the arts. What’s more, they must show that they can create and perform!

House Starts the Ball Rolling
In the four years since the Profile of Learning was first made law, there have been multiple attempts to repeal it. Many of the objections have centered on problems related to how disticts have handled implementation and what support has been made available to teachers. Opponents have not been as active this year as in the past. So it was unexpected that last week the House voted in favor of an amendment offered by Rep. Tim Pawlenty to stop the Department of Children, Families and Learning from implementing the Profile of Learning. The amendment was attached to SF 3133, a bill related to the Minnesota Indoor Clean Air Act. The vote was 109 to 22. There is no education policy bill progressing in either the House or Senate, so this maneuver made it possible for proponents of repeal to bypass the education policy committee.

Senate Surprise
On Monday, April 22, the same bill with the attached House amendment was brought up on the Senate floor for “concurrence,” that is, for members to agree with the bill as amended. It came close to being adopted! The Senate has been supportive of the implementation of the Profile of Learning since it began. The Senate Education committees had very little discussion about the Profile this year, aside from a request from CFL that they be granted authority to make some revisions (later withdrawn) and some discussions as part of other issues. However, this vote was very close, indicating perhaps that some Senators are hearing only negative feedback from constituents, or are still not understanding what the standards are about and how they are being implemented. The Senate voted first on whether absent members should be excused from voting, which was a tie vote of 31 to 31 and so did not prevail. Next, the voting board was held open for nearly an hour while the absent members were rounded up to vote. After a tie vote of 33 to 33, which means the motion to adopt did not prevail, the Senate author of the bill laid it on the table. Any variety of actions could happen now, including appointing a conference committee. (The voting record follows at the end of this alert.)

Action Needed:
Shore Up the Senate Support, Encourage the Governor to Hold the Line
Now is the time to act to preserve this policy that addresses equity of access to arts learning for all students. It is time for grassroots advocates to keep up the pressure for continuation of the Profile of Learning. Until the session is adjourned, the possibility of repeal is real. Calls or letters are best. If you e-mail, be sure it is personalized. Legislators are often overwhelmed by broadcast e-mails; however, they are more likely to pay attention to electronic messages from constituents. To look up your Senator’s address link to: www.leg.state.mn.us To send a message to the Governor link to: www.governor.state.mn.us

Talking Point:
Continue support for the Profile of Learning’s comprehensive, student-centered approach that recognizes all children deserve access to high levels of learning, including the arts.

To learn about the history of the arts standards in the Profile of Learning, see our archive of alerts at http://www.allarts4allkids.org/artsalerts.html

April 22, 2002 Excerpt from Journal page 6273 CALL OF THE SENATE Senator Stevens imposed a call of the Senate for the balance of the proceedings on S.F. No. 3133. The Sergeant at Arms was instructed to bring in the absent members. The question was taken on the adoption of the Stevens motion. Senator Stevens moved that those not voting be excused from voting. The question was taken on the adoption of the Stevens motion to excuse those not voting. The roll was called, and there were yeas 31 and nays 31…. The motion did not prevail. The question recurred on the adoption of the Stevens motion to concur. The roll was called, and there were yeas 33 and nays 33, as follows: Those who voted in the affirmative were: Bachmann, Belanger, Berg, Day, Dille, Fischbach, Frederickson, Johnson, Debbie Kierlin, Kiscaden, Kleis, Knutson, Langseth, Larson, Lesewski, Limmer ,Murphy, Neuville, Oliver,Olson, Ourada, Pariseau, Reiter, Rest, Robling, Sams, Samuelson, Scheevel, Schwab, Stevens, Terwilliger, Vickerman, Wiger. Those who voted in the negative were: Anderson, Berglin, Betzold, Chaudhary Cohen, Foley, Fowler, Higgins, Hottinger, Johnson, Dave, Johnson, Dean ,Johnson, Doug, Kelley, 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. The motion did not prevail. Senator Stevens moved that S.F. No. 3133 be laid on the table. The motion prevailed.