If you thought the
Profile of Learning was "intrusive," wait until you see
the new education requirements passed by the Minnesota House to
Among other things, the bill designated as HF2 requires Minnesota
schools to "preserve and promote fundamental American
principles stated in the Declaration of Independence and the
Constitution of the United States... " So far, so good. But
then comes the kicker. Minnesota schools are also required to teach
"other such principles as national sovereignty, natural law and
free-market enterprise." Most people will scratch their heads,
wondering what this means exactly.
But to those who follow the books, talk shows and agendas of the
extreme religious right, this is all too familiar. These are
euphemisms, well-known "code words," for very particular
By "natural law," they do not mean having children read
Aristotle or Thomas Aquinas. They mean teaching that "God's
law" is supreme, and overrides all human enactments. And by
"God's law," they mean the law of God as revealed in the
Bible. From this view, it is not the U.S. Constitution, laws and
decisions of democratically elected legislators or voters that
define our rights and duties and place limits on government, but
By "national sovereignty," they don't mean having
children read about President Lincoln's use of national power to
preserve the Union, President Eisenhower's use of national power to
enforce Civil Rights laws or the U.S. role in creating international
institutions, such as the United Nations, after World War II.
"National sovereignty" is the bugaboo of the
black-helicopter crowd who have an obsessive, irrational fear of the
United Nations. They don't mean teaching children about the
historical relations and conflicts between the national government
and the states since the founding or the role of international
treaties in American law.
By "free-market enterprise," they don't mean having
children read Adam Smith, the father of modern free-market
economics. They mean teaching radical libertarian economics, where
government plays absolutely no role in economic life. Smith, writing
in the "Wealth of Nations" and "Theory of Moral
Sentiments," believed in rational self-interest not ruthless
individualism. He believed government has a duty to maintain public
works and institutions that would not be maintained by any
individual or group of individuals for lack of adequate profit.
In short, the Minnesota House has adopted the stealth agenda of
the religious right as Minnesota's new educational goals. HF2 states
explicitly that schools may not include "any other content
standard inconsistent with this subdivision." Woe to those
teachers and schools who want to teach something other than natural
The 110 House members who voted for HF2 were asleep at the wheel.
It's one thing to be in favor of "rigorous academic
standards." It's quite another to embrace the agenda of the
extreme religious right. Local legislators Tom Huntley, Mary Murphy
and Bill Hilty were among the few who voted against this radical
overhaul of Minnesota education. Rep. Mike Jaros voted for it.
It will be up to the Minnesota Senate to repair the damage. Get
those two lines out of the bill and then debate the merits of
keeping or repealing the Profile of Learning.