Minnesotans for Better Education, Standards and Testing

Minnbest is a non-partisan, broad based coalition of parents, educators and school advocacy groups who believe excellent public education is a foundation of democracy in America.

12/31/2003

Wendy S. Choi: Minnesota Academic Standards for Parents of Public School Children

Strand: Government and Citizenship
Substrand: Public-School Parent Activists


Standard: The parent will become familiar with state public education issues.

1. Benchmark: Parents will identify and understand issues related to quality public education for MN students.

Examples:
Increased state and federal mandates without funding (ex. costly social studies standards)
Teaching children to a math, reading, and science multiple-choice state test (excluding essay, short answer) (using a single multiple-choice test score as the only factor in academic achievement rankings) (narrowing of education)
Confusion due to inadequate communication from Department of Education (confusing academic-achievement star ratings) (confusing state standards)

2. Benchmark: Parents will locate and understand their district legislative platform.

3. Benchmark: Parents will develop questions based on problems/concerns.

Examples:
What's the plan for paying for textbooks and teacher training necessary to meet new state standards?
What's the plan to make sure students still get important knowledge and skills not measured for school ratings?
What's the plan to clear up confusion over academic achievement star ratings and confusing state standards?

4. Benchmark: Parents will get to know district legislators and other key legislators that serve on education committees.

Examples:
Senate E-12 Education Committee Members
House Education Finance Committee Members
House Education Policy Committee Members
Commissioner of Education and other Department of Education Officials

5. Benchmark: Parents will identify and utilize legislative session information resources.

Examples:
Legislative Session "Green Book" (legislator phone book)
Weekly Session Update Publications for House and Senate
Committee Meetings and Hearings

6. Benchmark: Parents will identify and utilize other state parent groups as a resource.

Examples:
Parents United www.parentsunited.org (sign up for email updates)

Standard: The parent will communicate problem/concern to others to raise awareness.


1. Benchmark: Parents will write a letter to the editor.

Examples:
Pioneer Press letters@pioneerpress.com (include name, address, phone) (follow up with phone call)
Star Tribune opinion@startribune.com (include name, address, phone) (follow up with phone call)
Local papers (see back side for listing)

2. Benchmark: Parents will respectfully communicate with legislators.

Examples:
Phone legislator, describe problem, ask questions, and express concerns.
Attend a committee meeting during the session and before/after meeting describe problem, ask questions, and express concerns to legislators.
Arrange a meeting with a legislator and group of constituents to describe problem, ask questions, and express concerns.

3. Benchmark: Parents will inform other parents about problems/concerns.

Examples:
Phone a small group of parents with call to action (even just a small group of ten can make a difference).
Start a email communication network to keep others posted on state decisions that may impact education of their children.