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(a) The legislature is committed to establishing rigorous academic standards for Minnesota's public school students. To that end, the commissioner shall adopt in rule statewide academic standards. The commissioner shall not prescribe in rule or otherwise the delivery system, classroom assessments, or form of instruction that school sites must use. For purposes of this chapter, a school site is a separate facility, or a separate program within a facility that a local school board recognizes as a school site for funding purposes.

(b) All commissioner actions regarding the rule must be premised on the following:

(1) the rule is intended to raise academic expectations for students, teachers, and schools;

(2) any state action regarding the rule must evidence consideration of school district autonomy; and

(3) the Department of Education, with the assistance of school districts, must make available information about all state initiatives related to the rule to students and parents, teachers, and the general public in a timely format that is appropriate, comprehensive, and readily understandable.

(c) When fully implemented, the requirements for high school graduation in Minnesota must require students to satisfactorily complete, as determined by the school district, the course credit requirements under section 120B.024 and:

(1) for students enrolled in grade 8 before the 2005-2006 school year, to pass the basic skills test requirements; and

(2) for students enrolled in grade 8 in the 2005-2006 school year and later, to pass the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments Second Edition (MCA-IIs).

(d) The commissioner shall periodically review and report on the state's assessment process.

(e) School districts are not required to adopt specific provisions of the federal School-to-Work programs.