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Amendments from Rep. Sondra Erickson, R-Princeton, sought to reinstate specific test-score requirements for graduation. While setting long-term goals is laudable, Erickson said, the goals are undercut by the testing change. “We have no solid requirement for academic competence for a student to graduate from high school,” she said.
“It smacks of that fad, social promotion, the direction we’re going,” added Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe. Gruenhagen also blamed some classroom problems on the influence of psychology on education. “They have replaced moral absolutes … with feelings and self esteem,” he said.
Rep. Kathy Brynaert, DFL-Mankato, author of the new testing provisions, responded that too many students are dropping out, and the new system would get them help earlier. “You need to notice how many students aren’t graduating,” she said.
Added Rep. Barb Yarusso, DFL-Shoreview, another supporter of the testing changes: “Nobody ever learned anything by taking a test.”
The House voted 73-61 against Erickson’s amendment and in favor of the new testing provisions.
The Senate’s version of the education bill includes funding for all-day kindergarten and early-childhood education, but does not seek to accelerate the repayment of the school debt. The Senate is scheduled to take up its version later this week, and then the two sides will iron out differences in a conference committee.
Jim Ragsdale • 651-925-5042