For Immediate Release
February 15, 2021
Contact: Samantha Hanson
Page Amendment to Give All Minnesota Children Civil Right to Quality Public Education Introduced in House of Representatives
The bipartisan education policy, spearheaded by Justice Alan Page and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, will be introduced in the House first.
ST.PAUL, MINN. – Today, State Representative Hodan Hassan, Vice Chair of the Education Policy Committee, introduced HF 874 to the Minnesota State House of Representatives, a bill to amend the Minnesota state constitution to enumerate a civil right for all Minnesota children to quality public education.
The proposed constitutional amendment has bipartisan support in the House. The amendment also has the support of Justice Alan Page, whom the legislation is named for, as well as the Minnesota Business Partnership, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Attorney General Keith Ellison, the Minnesota Parent Union, ten tribal nations, and numerous other parent, students, educators, and nonprofit, business, and education leaders.
“Our legislature faces societal issues every day. Housing, the criminal justice system, healthcare, and unemployment. What’s necessary to address all of these issues is a strong public education. We can’t fix generational poverty and inequality without it,” said Representative Hassan (DFL-Minneapolis). “It is a tangible solution to addressing the issues that Minnesotans are facing today, including an abhorrent number of Black, Indigenous, and people of color children in Minnesota.”
The Page Amendment was first proposed following research from the Minneapolis Federal Reserve that shows mass education gaps in Minnesota. The gaps persist for decades and affect all 87 Minnesota counties. When the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the 2020 legislative session, the effort was forced to pause.
“Minnesota children need and deserve an education system that is focused on them, one that is investing in their potential and their outcomes,” said Representative Ron Kresha (R- Little Falls), one of several legislative champions. “In the last twenty years, the legislature has passed 122 education bills, all focused on structures within the public education system. The Page Amendment is holistic and targets the system. I believe that by addressing education gaps in our public school system, we successfully also address poverty, employment, healthcare, and more.”
Minnesota’s education gaps have only widened due to hybrid and distance learning. Research indicates that Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) and lower-income students were hit the hardest by learning loss. The statewide public education system is now in crisis.
Once the amendment passes the state Senate and House of Representatives, it must be approved by Minnesotans in a statewide general election to become law.
“This issue transcends party, transcends the rural versus urban debate and transcends other identity politics. Bipartisan efforts are rare right now, but education shouldn’t be one-side-or-the-other. Minnesota children don’t fall under an ideological base; they cannot fall victim to partisan politics,” said Minnesota’s People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus Leader Samantha Vang (DFL – Brooklyn Center). “Our BIPOC and lower-income children deserve more from Minnesota’s public education system that has continually failed to truly serve them.”
The amendment would make three changes to the current state of Minnesota education. First, the creation of the civil right establishes education as a paramount duty of the state. Second, it changes the state mandate from “the uniformity or efficiency of the system” to “the quality of public education offered to people”. Third, it empowers families and children by offering an avenue to address inequities in the judicial branch if their civil right is compromised.
The bill will update the language of the state’s constitutional education provision, Section 1 of Article XII. The new language will read:
Sec. 1 EQUAL RIGHT TO QUALITY PUBLIC EDUCATION. “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.”
Our Children MN is an organization working to inform Minnesotans of the state’s education gaps and to build support to pass the Page Amendment. Learn more about the Page Amendment at https://ourchildrenmn.com/.
Bill Authors in the House of Representatives
Representatives Hodan Hassan (62A), Ron Kresha (9B), Carlos Mariani (65B), Sondra Erickson (15A), Samantha Vang (40B), Jon Koznick (58A), Jay Xiong (67B), Tama Theis (14A), John Thompson (67A), Barb Haley (21A), Tou Xiong (53A), Joe Schomacker (22A)