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NOTICE: The Charter Vision project is dormant as of January 2008. This website is provided for archival purposes only.

Playing as a Team at the Legislature

Nell (Grade 11 / Northfield School of Arts and Technology) Originally published May 2004
Editors’ note: This is a follow-up to Nell’s original article, Playing as a Team.

This winter many charter school supporters have been working to make it a law that all charter school students can participate in extra-curricular activities at the local schools. Bills like the one that are in the process now have been to the capitol three times before and has passed in both the Senate and the House, just not with in the same year. (A bill must pass in both the Senate and the House in the same session before being signed by the governor to become a law.)

This year at the House the bill was heard three times by the education finance committee. Two charter school students, a parent, and Steve Dess testified for this portion of the bill. There were also people who testified against the bill, including a man from the MSHL. One of the bigger issues had nothing to do with student right but more on politics. The house has a Republican majority and some of the Democrats were angry at the fact that the bill is headed up by Republicans. This is one way the matter gets pulled away from the students, most students do not affiliate with a political party, and that is not the issue. The committee voted the bill into the K-12 Omnibus bill, and the support is there.

The bill was a little more controversial for the Senate education committee. They were not happy how long the bill took in the House, and how the House handled certain problems that arose. Most of the same people spoke and the Senate asked testifiers more questions that seemed to work for our benefit. We seemed to have the support but the bill got voted down 3-4 and the bill was not put into the K-12 Omnibus bill.

This means that now the issue has to be negotiated in the conference committee. We have the house support and we have support from Governor Tim Pawlenty, all we need is for the Senate to change their mind in negotiation. What you can do is contact your Senators and let them know how important it is give all students that chance to participate and be included. The legislatures do listen to the voices of the people and the more contacts we have the more they can see that this does affect all of us.

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