WASHINGTON - A broad coalition of groups has come out in opposition to Minnesota Republican Rep. John Kline's rewrite of the 2002 No Child Left Behind Education law.
Groups representing the business community, civil rights groups, disability advocates and teachers unions jointly sent a letter to Kline, who chairs the House Education Committee, calling his draft of the NCLB reauthorization a "rollback" of federal education policy that "undermines the core American value of equal opportunity in education embodied in Brown v. Board of Education."
The groups are particularly concerned about a measure in Kline's proposal that would eliminate annual achievement goals for all students. Ed Week notes that a similar coalition of groups expressed the same concerns about the bipartisan Senate reauthorization of NCLB that is also moving forward.
Some of the groups include erstwhile allies of Kline's, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Signers also include the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Federation of Teachers, the American Association of People with Disabilities and the Business Coalition for Student Achievement.(1 Comments)
The Minnesota Senate is expected to reject Gov. Dayton's appointment of Ellen Anderson to chair the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Deputy Senate Majority Leader Julianne Ortman said today the senate will vote on Anderson's confirmation Monday. If the senate rejects her, Anderson is effectively fired from the job. Ortman said Anderson's policies are unfriendly to businesses and ratepayers and are not in line with the views of most Minnesotans.
"She's got a tough record for job providers, job creators, the ratepayers," Ortman said. "Her work has created some controversy. It makes it very difficult to confirm a commissioner who is as controversial as she has been."
Anderson is a former DFL senator from St. Paul who sponsored the state's renewable energy standard. Gov. Dayton said Anderson has been a good chair and done has nothing wrong.
DFL Governor Mark Dayton says Ellen Anderson has been a good chair of the Public Utilities Commission, and he's not happy that Senate Republicans appear ready to fire her.
"People of Minnesota want better than this," Dayton said. "The people of Minnesota -- they want us to work together. They want us to reconcile our differences. They want us to compromise as we'll have to because we're coming from different perspectives. And they want us to get about jobs and other things. They don't want us to be involved in petty revenge for something that happened four years ago."
Anderson would be the first of Gov. Dayton's appointments that would be rejected by the Senate.
Democrats in control of the Minnesota Senate rejected two of former Gov. Tim Pawlenty's commissioners. The Senate rejected Cheri Yecke as Education Commissioner in 2004 and former Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau as Transportation Commissioner in 2008.(5 Comments)
The latest Public Policy Polling survey says 53 percent of those polled approve of the job Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton is doing. Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature are faring much worse. 23 percent of those polled view them negatively. The poll says Democrats in the Legislature are winning in a generic ballot against their GOP opponents but the DFL approval numbers aren't much better than Republicans. Just 31 percent of those surveyed have a favorable opinion of Democrats.
The poll also shows that the constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman is close. 48 percent of those surveyed say the support the ban on same-sex marriage. 44 percent are opposed to it.
59 percent of those surveyed also don't support any public money going to a new Vikings stadium but that's only if the team stays in Minnesota. Public opinion appears to shift if public money is the only way it will keep the team in the state. 46 percent of those polled say they'd support public money for a stadium if "that's what it took to keep the Vikings in Minnesota."
Read the full poll here.
The draft report of the Minnesota Sunset Advisory Commission suggests eliminating just one state government commission, and even that proposal could be pulled back. The group recommends eliminating the Combative Sports Commission and rolling its duties into the Amateur Sports Commission. But several Democrats on the commission objected.
"This proposal was never aired," commission member Matt Entenza said. "We haven't had an opportunity to hear whether this proposal would be a good idea. There are lots of things that are good ideas but there may be all kinds of unintended consequences."
Entenza said he and others also weren't briefed about therecommendations before a meeting Friday . Republicans said part of the problem is that they were bumping up against a tight deadline to submit recommendations to the Legislature.
Other members said it would look bad if the Sunset Commission didn't recommend folding any government units this year.
"If we're a Sunset Advisory Commission, and we come back to the Legislature and say 'keep everything,' and don't do some of the things that seem to be are fairly obvious," said GOP Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer , "it seems like we have missed an opportunity."
The Sunset Commission has been highly touted by Republicans in the Legislature as a way to streamline government services and get rid of programs that don't work. The group's members were appointed by the House, Senate and governor's office. It is supposed to examine every government agency and determine whether it should continue operating.
The commission is scheduled to meet again on Tuesday to finalize the report and determine how it will handle the Combative Sports Commission.
The Sunset Advisory Commission also suggests that the Council on Black Minnesotans be continued for two years and added to the 2014 Sunset Review Schedule. The Office of the Legislative Auditor has also been instructed to review the finances of the council in 2013. The Sunset Commission also recommends that each board and council should "make full use of collaborative administrative support services" and look to combine I-T services.