ST. PAUL -- Two Brainerd High School teachers along with two Minnesota teachers of the year, the father of seven home-schooled children, a former insurance company executive and an ex-chairman of the Republican Party are among the members of the panel that will redraw the state's school standards.
The BHS teachers are Don Karlgaard and Alan Hewitt.
State education commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke announced the 72 members of the academic standards committee Thursday evening, a task force that has about six weeks to come up with new math and reading expectations for public school students in every grade. Their first meeting is set for Wednesday.
The standards they come up with would begin to replace the Profile of Learning if the Legislature follows through with an anticipated repeal. The goal is to put the math and English requirements in place by fall. Science, geography and history standards would be drawn up later.
Yecke said she tried to assemble a cross-section of parents, teachers, business people and other education experts from all regions of the state. She said she also looked for people who exuded a passion for academic excellence and high expectations for children. The panelists were not interviewed and they were not required to state their philosophy upfront, she said.
"We had to go straight on paper because there were 2,146 applications," Yecke said. "It ended up being a much larger endeavor than what we expected it to be."
The list of committee members and thumbnail sketches of them are available on the Internet at http://cfl.state.mn.us.
The panelists will sit on one of eight subcommittees. Each subcommittee will formulate standards for three grades. They eventually will be stitched together to specify what students should know after every grade, from kindergarten-12th grade.
Many current and former teachers will take part. They include North St. Paul math instructor and 1998 Teacher of the Year Ellen Delaney and the current top teacher, Barb Stoflet of Minnetonka.
Karlgaard will be on the ninth through 12th grade mathematics subcommittee and Hewitt will be on the ninth through 12th grade English and reading subcommittee.
The business representatives include James Van Houten of Minneapolis, who was president and chief executive of Mutual Service Insurance Companies, and Bill Cooper, the CEO of TCF Financial Corporation and a past chairman of the state Republican Party.
Yecke said she didn't pick people with regard to political background, like in Cooper's case.
"He was in my keep pile before I even knew who he was," Yecke said. "Only later did my staff tell me he was a big name in Republican Party politics."
Her choice of Greg Pulles, a Plymouth businessman, was more deliberate. Pulles and his wife homeschool their children. Yecke said he brings a valuable perspective to the table.
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