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Proposed Minnesota state constitutional amendment would abridge parental freedom

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posted on Mar, 6 2020 @ 01:12 PM
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Two bills now in committee in the Minnesota State Legislature would, if passed, place a vote on the 2020 November ballots to amend the Minnesota state constitution. On the surface, Minnesota Senate File 3977 and its companion bill, House File 3658, seem innocuous. However, the proposed amendment makes for a dangerous opening to the abridgment of parental freedom when it comes to the education of our children in Minnesota.

The bill proposes to amend Article XIII, Section 1 from its current text:

Section 1. The stability of a republican form of government depending mainly upon the intelligence of the people, it is the duty of the legislature to establish a general and uniform system of public schools. The legislature shall make such provisions by taxation or otherwise as will secure a thorough and efficient system of public schools throughout the state.


To the following:

All children have a fundamental right to a quality public education that fully prepares them with the skills necessary for participation in the economy, our democracy, and society, as measured against uniform achievement standards set forth by the state. It is a paramount duty of the state to ensure quality public schools that fulfill this fundamental right.


To make myself very clear, I believe education should be a fundamental right. But the proposed amendment specifically calls out public education. The "Law of Unintended Consequences" tells us that this wording opens the door to an interpretation of the Minnesota state constitution that considers homeschooling your child or even sending them to a private, non-public school to be denying that child their fundamental constitutional rights. This is a dangerous precedent with potentially serious, far-reaching consequences.

Full disclosure, I am a father of three children - two of whom are homeschooled and one who will be starting in the local public school on Monday after several years homeschooling as well. Clearly if I am sending one of my children to the local public district, I am not about to demonize the public schools. Schools in Minnesota are consistently rated highly, and my wife and I both graduated from public schools here in the 90s. This is not about bashing the public education system; it is about an unnecessary overreach by the government. The wording of this constitutional amendment removes freedoms of both parents and children under the guise of providing a "fundamental right." When we made the decision to send my son to the public school, we included him in the decision. This amendment would prevent not only the parents right to choose what's best for their child, but the child having any say in the matter as well.

In my opinion, education should be a right, but the manner of that education should be left up to the parents and children. No teacher, legislator, or school official will know my children better than my wife and I do, or the children do themselves! This is a classic case of the government trying to tell the citizenry that they know better than we do.

Hm. Maybe this should have gone under "Rants"?

edit on 3-6-2020 by PrairieShepherd because: Fixed CRLFs on the quotes




posted on Mar, 6 2020 @ 01:15 PM
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originally posted by: PrairieShepherd
But the proposed amendment specifically calls out public education.


I'm not seeing it as mandatory unless I'm missing something. A 'right to' something doesn't mean 'must' in my opinion, I think it means they have the recourse of taking that route if wanted.

We have a right to bear arms, it doesn't mean we have to at all times. We have freedom to petition but it doesn't mean we have to if we don't want to.



posted on Mar, 6 2020 @ 01:24 PM
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a reply to: AugustusMasonicus

I can see your point, Augustus. My concern is not that this amendment bans non-public education and makes public schooling mandatory. My concern is that down the road, someone will use this wording to argue that non-public education constitutes denying a child's fundamental right - the right to a public education. My point is that the wording is unnecessarily limiting by its qualification of "public" education, and that down the line that wording will be abused.



posted on Mar, 6 2020 @ 01:25 PM
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If they are pushing for school conditioning of children, why don't they worry about correcting the conditioning that has been messed up in our society instead of trying to take away people's rights to complain about the system?

The school social conditioning is broken, too many over educated people trying to run it without a clue of how it really should be done. We had much better conditioning when I was in school, and that even sucked for quality back then. But some of the teachers were good at it, while others did not want to follow the policies which disrupted the generation. Now, it is all messed up....fix it correctly, do not allow someone to make the rules who is one who does not like to follow rules. Get teachers together to try to figure how to fix the system, and make sure that they do not just want to please a certain group of people who want excused for their childrens bad behavior.



posted on Mar, 6 2020 @ 01:25 PM
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a reply to: PrairieShepherd

I just don't see it that way, a 'right to' something is not a mandate to do something.

But the best way to clarify is to contact your Representatives for Congress.




edit on 6-3-2020 by AugustusMasonicus because: 👁❤🍕



posted on Mar, 6 2020 @ 01:29 PM
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a reply to: PrairieShepherd

Having the right to something doesn’t mean you’re required to avail yourself of said right.



posted on Mar, 6 2020 @ 01:32 PM
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a reply to: rickymouse
I think there is a lot to be said on the educational system and its various issues. I understand there are achievement gaps between various groups and any number of other issues. But setting a precedent that could limit freedoms is not the way to make it better. I feel this will lead to more government control over the schools, not less.

a reply to: AugustusMasonicus
Absolutely. Like the good citizen I am, of course, I have already contacted both my State Senator and State Representative. The members of the two education committees are next.



posted on Mar, 6 2020 @ 01:34 PM
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a reply to: Shamrock6

Agreed, but again, that's not what I'm saying. I think it's naïve to believe someone down the road will not abuse this to call non-public education denial of constitutional rights. Changing the wording in this way is not necessary. Why limit the right to "public"? Why not say that simply "education" is a right?



posted on Mar, 6 2020 @ 01:41 PM
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originally posted by: PrairieShepherd
Changing the wording in this way is not necessary. Why limit the right to "public"? Why not say that simply "education" is a right?


So you want to the state to constitutionally fund a private education using taxpayer money?



posted on Mar, 6 2020 @ 01:46 PM
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a reply to: PrairieShepherd

Basing your argument on a slippery slope fallacy is what’s naive, IMO. The change that sticks out to me is that the state is saying they have to fund a quality public education for every child. Not just an education, but a good one. Expecting the language to include homeschooling and private schools seems a bit fanciful to me.



posted on Mar, 6 2020 @ 01:49 PM
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a reply to: AugustusMasonicus

No, what I want is the legislature to not amend the state constitution unnecessarily.

The State Constitution currently provides for funding for a public school system. Education is already a right and mandated up to age 16.

Why does that need to be changed, especially in a way the opens the door to the criminalization of educational choices besides public education?



posted on Mar, 6 2020 @ 01:51 PM
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originally posted by: PrairieShepherd
The State Constitution currently provides for funding for a public school system.


Now it needs to fund a 'quality' one which I would hope will be quantified with better metrics and results than are presently used. The teachers union is one of the largest travesties perpetrated on our society by itself.



posted on Mar, 6 2020 @ 01:55 PM
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a reply to: PrairieShepherd

My only concern is how they would measure "quality".

If their definition of quality is to worship Ba'al at every school and sacrifice goats, then I'd be against it.

What is their measure of "quality"?



posted on Mar, 6 2020 @ 01:55 PM
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originally posted by: PrairieShepherd
Changing the wording in this way is not necessary. Why limit the right to "public"? Why not say that simply "education" is a right?


So you want to the state to constitutionally fund a private education using taxpayer money?

Its called choice, and yes I would love that. That taxpayer money cam from a tax payer that would choose to send their kids to a private school or home school.



posted on Mar, 6 2020 @ 01:55 PM
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originally posted by: Shamrock6
a reply to: PrairieShepherd

Having the right to something doesn’t mean you’re required to avail yourself of said right.


ah but it could easily be used that if you don't send your child to public school, you are denying them of their rights.



posted on Mar, 6 2020 @ 01:58 PM
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originally posted by: DBCowboy
If their definition of quality is to worship Ba'al at every school and sacrifice goats, then I'd be against it.


Ba'al is so 3 R's; outdated. Moloch is the choice for Common Core curriculum.



posted on Mar, 6 2020 @ 02:01 PM
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originally posted by: nfflhome
Its called choice, and yes I would love that. That taxpayer money cam from a tax payer that would choose to send their kids to a private school or home school.


I think it's bad enough that my money goes to fund cruddy public educations and I am totally against you getting my money for a private one with even less oversight.



posted on Mar, 6 2020 @ 02:01 PM
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originally posted by: generik

originally posted by: Shamrock6
a reply to: PrairieShepherd

Having the right to something doesn’t mean you’re required to avail yourself of said right.


ah but it could easily be used that if you don't send your child to public school, you are denying them of their rights.


No, it really couldn’t. There’s no language requiring parents to send their kids to public schools. There’s language requiring the state to fund quality public schools. You and the OP’s argument amounts to “the state is required to fund quality public schools by law, and you’re sending your kid to a private school and that’s a violation of the law requiring the state to fund quality public education.”

See how stupid that sounds when you say it out loud? This is akin to arguing “the state is required to maintain public roads yet you don’t drive on public roads, and that violates the state’s requirement to maintain public roads.”



posted on Mar, 6 2020 @ 02:02 PM
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a reply to: AugustusMasonicus

We might disagree at times Augustus, but you and DB are absolutely hilarious.



posted on Mar, 6 2020 @ 02:08 PM
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a reply to: Shamrock6

Except that the text they want to change it to completely removes the mention of funding. It's the original text that talks about funding the Minnesota schools by taxes.

They are not appending to that section. They are replacing it.



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