Capitol Deal Underway: School Board & Newspaper Lobbyists Throw Public School Students, Parents Under the Information Reform Bus

Educational justice is being compromised in a state known for making kids a priority. The average citizen is about to gain a streamlined, cheaper way to resolve disputes over government data requests (HF2899/SF2354) via the Office of Administrative Hearings, but a glaring exclusion was placed on educational data. In other words, people seeking to resolve conflicts over government data can now go before an Administrative Law Judge instead of suing the government agency in question. However, if the dispute in question involves school records, you still have to file in district court.

Minnesota Newspaper Association lobbyist Mark Anfinson, a leader of the corporatist media lobby, has hyped this bill as an information freedom improvement not intended to create a "privileged class for journalists." Well, that’s misleading, because what it does do is create an underprivileged class of students and parents. Twin Cities Indymedia has found Anfinson and Thomas Deans, counsel for the Minnesota School Boards Association, arranged to cut out educational data from the deal, because the school boards threatened to block the bill, according to interviews (below). This bill may win House passage any day this week, and advocates suggest citizens contact their legislators immediately -- on the Senate side it's now at the Finance Committee.

Below the fold: Edited audio of key House hearings, interviews with transparency & parent/student advocates, how Anfinson & Deans did the deal. More: Earlier HF2899/SF2234 data practices bill coverage: Jon Collins in MnIndependent | AP 

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