Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about the Page Amendment by exploring frequently asked questions.

FAQ

Our Children MN is a nonprofit organization funding and supporting the amendment. Minnesotans – individuals, foundations and companies – fund and support the Page Amendment. The organization works to inform the public about education gaps and build support for the amendment alongside Minnesota parents, students, educators, and nonprofit, business, and government leaders. 

The amendment will establish a civil right to quality public education for all Minnesota children, replacing the education provision that sets an adequate education standard. When the amendment passes and quality education isn’t being met in our schools, the community – parents, teachers, others – will have a voice to bring those concerns forward, compelling the legislature to act to solve inequities.

Education gaps are disparities in academic performance between groups of students. Most often, the gaps persist between white, wealthier students and Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) and lower-income students. Disparities test scores, subject proficiencies, and in graduation and college readiness rates contribute to gaps.

There have been many good-faith attempts to close education gaps in Minnesota but the Page Amendment is the first to establish a civil right to quality public education for all Minnesota children, making it radically different from the prescriptive legislation of the past. Once it passes, the best part is that the “we” becomes the “you”; families and children will have the opportunity to work more closely with legislators to ensure their civil rights are being met, which also compels the legislature to act to solve inequities.

Minnesota’s constitution sets an adequate education standard which has contributed to decades-long education gaps. We should hold ourselves to a higher standard – quality. Families and communities will determine quality education. Then, the higher standard will compel the legislature to act to solve inequities.

The Page Amendment will establish a civil right to quality public education for all Minnesota children, leveling the playing field so that all Minnesota children are provided the tools to excel in and after school. This puts all Minnesotans in the best position to be socially and economically mobile.

The Page Amendment will establish a civil right to quality public education for all Minnesota children, which can set them up for social and economic mobility. Education levels directly impact rates of employment, homeownership, poverty rates, healthcare attainment and more. By fixing education, we believe these additional disparities would begin to close.

No. A February 2020 report done by the Minneapolis Federal Reserve found no evidence that a constitutional amendment will increase lawsuits, with most education lawsuits having been related to employee compensation and contracts. 

The hope is that these disparities are confronted as soon as possible, outside of the judicial system. The amendment incentivizes that these are solved expeditiously. We must face that a family may seek to right the state’s wrongs in a court of law, and if they do, that could be the most momentous change of all. Consider landmark education trials like Brown v. Board and how, without it, all schools could be decades behind in racial equality if it had not been for that ruling.

No. Minnesota has some of the worst education gaps in the country despite the fact that we spend nearly $14,000 a year per student, and we outspend almost every other state in the Midwest. That spending is not translating to better education outcomes. The state and our taxpayers are spending more, but getting less. An amendment is a new avenue that can include funding and several other means to position Minnesota as a state that offers the best public education possible.

No. The amendment establishes a civil right that makes education a paramount duty of the state and does not address funding. The state will be responsible for funding and other tactics to ensure that that civil right is being met including determining funding formulas to meet the quality education standard for all children. 

No. The language in the Page Amendment emphasizes the word “public” three times to clarify that the amendment supports traditional public schools and charter schools, which are also public schools. The current uniformity provision in the education provision of the state constitution allows the legislature to pass a bill to enact an educational voucher system today if they wanted to. The proposed amendment does not change the state’s ability to do that, but that also does not mean a voucher system will be enacted.

The Page Amendment does not endanger educational choice or parental rights. The Page Amendment empowers families. Conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute published a paper that stated constitutional amendments that make “high-quality public education a constitutionally protected civil right” actually “shift the balance of power away from the education establishment toward families.”

Page Amendment text: “All children have a fundamental right to a quality public education…”

Minnesota recognized the fundamental right to education in Skeen v. State of MN (1993). Since Skeen was decided, the state has NOT used the fundamental right to education doctrine to alter parental rights to opt out of the public school system or to control homeschooling. The Page Amendment would not make public school compulsory. Many rights are enumerated in the state (and federal) constitution, but there are not requirements that a person avail themselves of their rights. The idea that a child would be pressed into choosing to use a specific right enumerated in the constitution would be contrary to how the state understands and applies other enumerated rights. For example, the MN Constitution confers a right to practice religion freely but offers no requirement to practice religion. The MN Constitution confers a right to vote, but not all Minnesotans vote.

Page Amendment text: “that fully prepares them with the skills necessary for participation in the economy, our democracy, and society…”

The term “democracy” is used in the amendment to mean representative democracy, as distinct from direct democracy.

Page Amendment text: “measured against uniform achievement standards set forth by the state”.

Uniform achievement standards, as measured by the state, are critical to ensuring that the system is oriented to outcomes and is held accountable. What gets measured gets done. The proposed amendment does not alter, in any way, current laws that allow students to withdraw from public education. The proposed amendment would NOT force homeschool families to teach Minnesota academic standards or have homeschool children take the Minnesota comprehensive assessments.

Page Amendment text: “It is a paramount duty of the state to ensure quality public schools that fulfill this fundamental right.”

The state has a duty to provide public education to students – this duty was established when Minnesota became a state in 1857. The Page Amendment ensures the state provides a quality education. The Page Amendment elevates the standard for public education from “adequate” to “quality” to ensure that all children receive quality public education. Families who opt out of public education will continue to provide the education that is best for their children. The Page Amendment will ensure that what the state provides is quality education, and it directs the state to establish “quality”, measure it, and appropriately fund public education.

Families decide whether they believe their child’s right has been violated and whether they want to seek remedies from the state. Families and students who are not receiving a quality education can demand remedies through the legislature and/or the courts.

Similarly, it is not a violation if a parent chooses a non-public option. Parental rights to opt out of the public school system are not impacted by the proposed amendment.

As explained above, the proposed amendment does not force Minnesota academic standards (or assessments) on private and non-public schools or homeschool families. Minnesota does not dictate curriculum to public schools, and it does not and could not dictate curriculum to private and non-public schools and homeschool families. What the Page Amendment does is compel the public school system to be more student-centric and of higher quality. It does not alter, in any way, the rights of parents to opt out of the public school system.

What the Page Amendment DOES is compel the public school system to be more student-centric and of higher quality. It does NOT alter, in any way, the rights of parents to opt out of the public school system.