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Dear Legislator:
I am writing to oppose the Page Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution regarding K-12 education. As your constituent, I’m also urging you to remove your name from the bill if you have signed on as an author.

I appreciate your concern for students and your willingness to back education reform, but this idea is the wrong approach.

As with many proposals over the years to improve K-12 education and close our achievement gap, the Page Amendment sounds good on its face. Who could be against guaranteeing a right to quality education? But as always, the devil is in the details, and in the case of the Page Amendment, there are no details.

The new language is too vague and includes undefined terms that will be left up to interpretation by lawyers and courts. Proponents claim it will force the legislature to focus on effective policy reforms, but I would ask why that’s not happening already?

Passage of the amendment will abdicate your duty as a state legislator to lawyers and the courts. In order to effect change, citizens like me will have to file a lawsuit and work through the court system, instead of calling you or my local school board member.
 
The courts are not suited to debating and implementing education policy and I’m concerned their default solution will be more money for a failing system. As you know, more money does not equal better outcomes for students.

Instead of this amendment, the legislature should advance policies that have proven to work in other states such as education savings accounts and scientifically based literacy programs that will actually close the achievement gap.

Again, I appreciate your leadership in education reform but respectfully ask you to oppose the Page Amendment.

Thank you,

Your Constituent

Contact your legislators

Let them know the Page Amendment  will do more harm than good.

Our Voice, Our Choice! 

The Page Amendment sounds good on paper, but it will actually take away the voice of parents, school board members and legislators in education and hand it over to the courts.

No other state has produced academic gains or significantly narrowed the racial gap by turning education over to the courts. 

We can do better for Minnesota students, but this amendment will do more harm than good.

Empty promises

Losing our voice

Do your job

An effort 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 Page Amendment represents empty words and empty promises for children about a right to a “quality” education with no specifics on how it will be achieved.

Passage of the amendment will take away the voice of parents in their children’s education. 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.

K-12 education policy is one of the most important jobs of the Minnesota legislature. They should not abdicate that responsibility to lawyers and the courts.

Words alone won't solve our problems

Boon for the trial lawyers

The new language is too vague and includes undefined terms that will be left up to interpretation by lawyers and courts.

The amendment will turn control of our schools over to economists, lawyers and the courts.

Center of the American Experiment is Minnesota's leading public policy institution. Read more at americanexperiment.org

Why liberals should oppose the Page Amendment

Why conservatives should oppose the Page Amendment

The amendment deletes the language currently in the constitution that guarantees both a fundamental right to education, and a legislative duty to provide an adequate education. The word “adequate” has a strong historical legal definition that goes beyond its plain language meaning.

The amendment will jeopardize gains made in Minnesota toward educational equity.

The amendment will lead to more reliance on standardized achievement tests.


The Page Amendment will hand over control of our schools to Minnesota judges appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton and Gov. Tim Walz. Five of the seven judges on the Supreme Court were appointed by Dayton and Walz.

Because they are not suited to handle education policy, the courts will likely demand more money be spent on our failing education system.

It is unknown how the Page Amendment will affect charter schools, private schools and home schooling. These choices could be undermined in the courts, leaving advocates little recourse.

Additional resources

by: Katherine Kersten

by: Will Stancil

Statement released by education experts and scholars

The amendment gives up on proven strategies from other states

Before we hand over education to the courts, let’s try proven strategies that helped other states improve.

  •  Reading Literacy: 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.
  • School Choice: Students in FloridaArizona and Indiana all experienced gains after their states passed some form of real school choice.