ST. PAUL (AP) -- Negotiators today broke a months-long deadlock over the Profile of Learning, which had threatened to keep budget bills from passing and the session from coming to a close.
The compromise allows districts to go forward with the project-oriented profile or opt for a new, back-to-basics system called the North Star Standard.
All of the major money issues were tied with the changes to the graduation standards in a night of intense talks between the House and Senate.
''I think (districts) will be quite pleased,'' said House Speaker Steve Sviggum, who spent several hours in high-level talks on the issue.
It still must be approved in the House and Senate next Wednesday before Gov. Jesse Ventura weighs in. His advisers have been closely monitoring developments, but none was immediately available to comment.
Teachers would have an advisory role in determining whether a district board picks the profile or North Star Standard. If a district keeps the profile, teachers at individual schools and districts' boards would jointly decide how many tasks, called content standards, students need to complete for graduation.
''It will put the power and the development of standards at the classroom level,'' said Sen. Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minnneapolis. ''Teachers won. They're now going to have some say in what's going on in the classroom.''
The level of teacher input had been the biggest sticking point during months of talks over the profile, which has been criticized as being too bureaucratic and too hard to implement. House Republicans felt school board members should make such decisions.
An acceptable compromise on the profile eluded lawmakers last year, and many were pressured by constituents and local teachers to do something. The profile didn't become a crucial piece in the session-closing puzzle until Tuesday night.
This year's sophomores and freshmen will be excused from profile requirements. Many educators worried they would have to deny students diplomas because implementation problems put successful completion of 24 content standards out of reach in some cases. The Class of 2002 was the first to be held to the standards as a measure for graduation.
The profile works in tandem with basic skills tests, which measure a student's core knowledge in reading, writing and math. The profile is designed to show students can apply what they've learned.
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