By Madison Ruppert | End the Lie
The current education climate in the United States is already atrocious and it seems that some states are going out of their way to just make that situation significantly worse.
One might point to the censorship of certain phrases and concepts in tests administered in New York public schools or perhaps the strange sex education bills being pushed in certain parts of the nation as evidence of this trend.
It seems that the State of Minnesota is making a concerted effort to see that students have less access to education, especially if it is freely accessed online.
This is evidenced by Minnesota’s Office of Higher Education going after Coursera, a company offering free online courses to students around the globe in partnership with several universities.
According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, Coursera has been told it is “unwelcome in the state because it never got permission to operate there,” all based on a decades-old law which seems to have no proper place here.
In response to the state’s claims, Coursera was forced to place an updated statement in their terms of service, which reads:
Notice for Minnesota Users:
Coursera has been informed by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education that under Minnesota Statutes (136A.61 to 136A.71), a university cannot offer online courses to Minnesota residents unless the university has received authorization from the State of Minnesota to do so. If you are a resident of Minnesota, you agree that either (1) you will not take courses on Coursera, or (2) for each class that you take, the majority of work you do for the class will be done from outside the State of Minnesota.
In an attempt to justify the move, Tricia Grimes, a policy analyst for the Minnesota’s Office of Higher Education, said that letters with similar language have been sent to every postsecondary institution that offers courses in the state.
However, Grimes admitted that she was not aware if letters had been specifically sent to other providers of massive open online courses (MOOCs) like edX (a collaboration of MIT and Harvard) or Udacity. Officials there did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Chronicle.