Call to action: Page Amendment more harm than good
Center of the American Experiment this week launched a campaign to push back on the Page Amendment and protect the voice of parents and taxpayers in education policy reform at the state and local level. The public awareness and advocacy campaign includes a webpage at www.OurVoiceOurChoiceMN.com with key messages, resources and a call to action. The call to action will send letters to state representatives and senators asking them to oppose the Page Amendment. Those legislators currently sponsoring the legislation will be asked to withdraw their names.
“While the so-called Page Amendment sounds good, it will take away the voice of parents, school board members and legislators in education and hand it over to the courts,” said John Hinderaker, president of Center of the American Experiment. “If you thought the teachers’ union was screwing up education, wait until the courts get their hands on it.”
The Page Amendment is named after its most prominent supporter, former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page. Proponents claim adding a “fundamental right to a quality education” in the words of the constitution will force the legislature to finally pass legislation necessary to close Minnesota’s persistent achievement gaps.
Passage of the amendment will take away the voice of parents in their children’s education, with lawyers and judges deciding education policy instead of legislators and school boards. Instead of talking to a local school board member or legislator, parents will have to hire a lawyer or join a lawsuit to be heard.
“Why would any legislator vote to voluntarily give away his or her power and responsibility over K-12 education policy and funding to another branch of government?” asked Hinderaker.
Instead of a constitutional amendment filled with vague language, American Experiment is promoting other legislative ideas that have proven success in other states:
- Mississippi created an intense early reading policy of identification, intervention and monitoring, making them No. 1 in the country for gains in fourth grade reading and math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
- Students in Florida, Arizona and Indiana all experienced gains after their states passed some form of real school choice.
“Mississippi students of color outperform Minnesota students of color in both fourth and eighth grade math and reading achievement,” added Catrin Wigfall, education policy fellow at American Experiment. “There are better solutions than amending the constitution that lead to a quality education and don’t come at the expense of students.”