ST. PAUL -- A legislative faceoff over the Profile of Learning has taken on the same tone as last year, with the House demanding the graduation rule be indefinitely put on hold.
Using a bill about a 10th-grade writing test as a vehicle, the House voted 97-34 Thursday to put an indefinite moratorium on the show-what-you-know learning system. Instead, school districts would develop their own methods of teaching and assessment.
''It's now purely local control,'' said Rep. Tony Kielkucki, R-Lester Prairie. Districts that like the profile could still use it.
But Rep. David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, said the bill carries little weight and gives false hope to school districts struggling to make the current system work.
''What we've done is put a bill out there that the governor isn't going to sign and the Senate isn't going to negotiate on,'' Tomassoni said. ''What we have now is something that will go away and not make a difference.''
Through a series of procedural moves, the debate over the sophomore writing exams turned into an assault on the graduation rule. The test issue was contentious in its own right because it dealt with an exam that some found overly personal.
Before Kielkucki offered his case to return the tests to students after they were scored, Rep. Gene Pelowski, DFL-Winona, offered an amendment to put a two-year delay on the profile as a requirement for a diploma.
That opened the door to language that would prevent the state from requiring districts to use the profile, which encourages students to do hands-on projects to demonstrate what they've learned.
''Let's end the addiction to the Profile of Learning and make it an option,'' Pelowski said.
Under the bill, students still would be required to meet a minimum number of requirements in core course areas, but districts could determine whether they've done enough to graduate.
Children, Families and Learning Commissioner Christine Jax said the House bill would do significant damage.
''They can say whatever they want, they repealed the profile,'' Jax said. ''It's outrageous that they are maintaining their position to repeal the profile while the educational establishment is looking for improvements.''
Senate K-12 Education Chairman Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, also frowned on the House action.
''It might have been a political need for the House to have some political fun, but I think at the expense of children it's not a good thing to be doing,'' he said.
Last year, the Legislature failed to reach a compromise on profile changes. The House tried to repeal it and let districts set their own ''rigorous academic standards'' in core course areas. The Senate pushed for modest revisions.
The bill is H.F. 2720.
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