Monthly Archives: March 2022

Comments Off on How will Minnesota Schools Reduce Education Gap? Keep kids in school – what a novel idea

Alright – so, ever since my son was suspended by the union-protected teacher, Kelly Morris, and lobbyist-protected principal Jaysen from Bloomington school district, I have been advocating for a law that would prevent them from doing it to another kid. Rep. Richardson who chairs the MN House of Reps Education Policy committee has been a champion in this issue. She was able to pass pre-K suspension ban legislation a couple of years ago. Richardson has another bill this year – HF 951 which will prohibit K to 3rd-grade kids to be kicked out of school. It will have a hearing tomorrow in the Education Finance committee chaired by Rep. Davnie. Below is my written testimony. I plan to testify orally as well.

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018, 5:18pm @neverforget.

Minnesota House of Representatives

Education Finance Committee

Chair – Rep. Davnie

March 23, 2022


Re: HF 951, Keeping K to 3rd-grade students in the classroom and teaching them

Dear Mr. Chair and Members,

Many thanks for the opportunity to testify today in support of this important legislation. I want to thank Rep. Richardson for her focus and tenacity in our children’s education.

This is a political body, and I would like to speak to you as such.

  • I want to say to all of the legislators in this committee that Minnesota has the only divided legislative body in the country. What this means is that your voters have mandated you to work together and get along for the benefit of all your constituents.
  • I want to say to the Democrats – you control two of the government bodies here which means you slightly have the upper hand. You have been supporting this bill from last year and this year, but you have got to come out stronger by saying what you mean and meaning what you say.
  • You must get Education Minnesota and the teachers to support this bill with no reservation. You know that black and brown voters have supported you. Now it is your turn to support their children and ensure they are kept in the classroom to learn and be nurtured. I respectfully and humbly ask you to carry this bill to the finish line and not let it become a casualty during the conference committee hearings.
  • Now to the Republican legislators – yes, the principals and administrators need to have a toolbox at their disposal. Kicking young students out of school does not have to be a tool in the box. Maybe this toolbox can have compassion, competency, and kindness
  • Finally, I know you are aware that racism and discrimination exist in the education system and elsewhere. It was Sen. Coleman who first helped us, Somali autism families, back over a decade ago when we were advocating for autism awareness in our community. It was Abeler and Hann who helped us with DHS’ inequalities and ensured Medicaid covered autism therapy. Please help us now with the education gap by keeping the kids in school so that they can learn and prosper.

I beg all of you in this committee to validate parents’ pain and children’s despair by standing with us, for us, and by us. Please support HF 951 this year like your life depended on it because it does.

I thank you for your time and listening as always

Idil Abdull

Comments Off on Minnesota MCOs Got to GO – bye bye forever – Autism children & Families have suffered by YOU

Alright – so, today, Chair and Rep. Liebling had a hearing for low-income autism families and others to opt-out of MCO. We know that these blood-sucking insurance agencies have not been good to autism families. Even when we made the law and rule the same, MCOs have made the process so much harder that providers are simply not taking kids. MCOs take so much money from state and federal, yet provide no services. One member said today, there is no coordination because no services are happening to bloody coordinate. Ok, she did not say bloody but you get the point. In summary, I think DHS needs to have more data and facts for legislators which would allow them to write good laws and policies. And, we need to say bye-bye to MCO. It is not helping, yes enrollees should have a choice to opt-out and leave.

Below is my testimony:

Minnesota House of Representatives

Health Finance & Policy Committee

Chair: Rep. Liebling

March 21, 2022


            Re: HF 3363 – People should have the option to opt-out of MCOs

Dear Madam Chair and Members,

My name is Idil Abdull; I am a Somali autism mom & advocate, and I appreciate the opportunity to testify today. As you all know, Managed Care Organizations (MCO) are health insurance companies that contract with the state Medicaid agency to provide health care to low-income people in Minnesota including children with autism and their families.

The idea was to have cost-effective care that is driven by quality and compassion. Sadly, this has not always been the case, particularly in the area of autism. DHS’ medical director testified recently in this committee and gave you data that suggested the majority of low-income Minnesotans have MCOs. This is true for autism families. Children with autism who have MCO for insurance are not getting the services they need and qualify because the process is different and difficult for providers.

Let’s say there are two children who are both 5 years old and have autism. Child A named Michael Smith has Medicaid via fee for service and child B named Michael Smith has Medicaid through a health plan. They both apply to autism therapy agency C who will take the fee for service child because the process is easier, the reimbursement is faster, and there is plenty of consistent training on claim and authorization submission. On the other hand, the MCO has a horrible process or no process at all for claims, billing, authorizations, and reimbursement.

In other words, the provider will most likely take the child whose insurance is smoother and better. Keep in mind that both kids have Medicaid, but because MCOs are extremely difficult to navigate and work with, no provider will want to take that child. This is already happening in EIDBI. DHS has this data but refuses to end contracts with MCOs.

Now, there is something you can do about this because Medicaid should be Medicaid should be Medicaid. You can hold DHS accountable for the language in the MCO contracts to ensure the process and rules are the same. You can take away the ability to contract with MCOs if they do not do what they are supposed to do. I have seen this done by previous DHS administrations and governors.

I hope you call DHS and ask them to stop the double standard. I hope you tell MCOs they will not get public funds if they do not meet your standards.

For autism and probably other areas, MCOs are not meeting even basic standards. Autism families and others should have the choice and option to opt-out of MCOs without going through the lengthy process of smart medical team review and/or social security eligibility. These take a long time which defeats the purpose of early autism intervention.

You can read the below articles as a reference to when MCOs were blatantly discriminating against children with autism. Some families have sued them and won. I hope we do not wait for more lawsuits from families again. MCOs should not be allowed to behave this way while taking public funds that you all approve and have the authority to deny.

Thanks as always

Idil Abdull – Somali Autism Mom & Advocate


The above words do not reflect any candidate, agency, or committee.

Idil – Somali Autism Mom

Category: Autism Policy

Comments Off on Suspension Bill is Heard in MN House of Reps – Education Policy Committee on 3.18.22

Alright – so, there was a hearing for HF 951 again today in the MN House of Reps’ education committee. We heard this legislation last year, it was added to the education omnibus bill but it failed in the conference committee. Chairs Chamberlain and Davnie were not able to come to an agreement on their overall education items and this bill became a casualty.

Rep. Richardson is presenting it again this year. All of the dflers voted for it and all of the Republicans voted against it. Don’t get too happy; this does not mean the democrats are for this. It is just a show. Let me tell you how.

  1. It is the teacher who refers the child to be suspended.
  2. It is the teacher who kicks the child from the classroom.
  3. It is the teacher who complains about the child
  4. It is the teacher who goes to the principal and the administrators to start with. Who supports the teachers and their unions – that is right the democrats. You see this is just to get black and brown votes; to pretend they care without caring to give us empty calories.

Then the republicans support the principals and the administrators while the democrats support the teachers and unions. Who supports the kids and families. No one. Yet, we all vote for these legislators who clearly do not give a flying hoot about our kids. They just give the same speech where the democrats say disparity this, racial this while supporting the very teachers who created this. Then the republicans live in la-la land and say – what racism in America? it can not be. They simply can’t see kids are getting kicked out of schools disproportionately because of their color and they have a disability. They always say – it is not happening in my neighborhood so it can not exist. And the dflers know it is happening because they create it and maintain it. The dflers are just more savvy with their words, are more charming and probably have more charisma.

My suggestion is this:

  1. The black and brown legislators need to go to their leadership and tell them which bills are due or die this year. Tell them those legislations can not become casualties or decorations. They can not be used for negotiations. They need to pass – period. The democrats control two of the three government branches and should technically have the upper hand. I say let’s not let them play us again into voting for them while getting nothing back in return.
  2. Pick maybe 5 to 10 bills in education, health, safety, employment, etc., and tell Walz and Hortman no deal if they don’t pass. You all need to have a backbone and stand up for your communities. You can not tell us it is the other side. That is not true.
  3. For example, why can’t the dflers stand up to the teachers and their unions. They are the ones suspending us. Rep. Erickson does have a good point. If the teachers are trained in culturally responsive, are held accountable for their actions and all of the current rules are followed then discipline should decrease.

Here is my testimony. I must say I am not optimistic this year. The Senate did not even have a companion bill.

Minnesota House of Representatives

Education Policy Committee

Chair – Rep. Richardson

March 18, 2022


Re: HF 951 – dismissal of students from kindergarten to 3rd grade prohibited

Dear Madam Chair and Members,

My name is Idil Abdull, and I am a Somali Autism Mom & Advocate.

Many thanks for the opportunity to testify again for this important legislation. As I thought about what I would say today, I have decided to do it differently. I am not going to tell you what happened to my son in the Bloomington Public School district because you already know it. I am not going to give you facts, data, and research because you know 2+2 is four.

Today, I want to appeal to your bottom line, to your wallet, and to your purses. I know you are thinking – what now? What the heck does this have to do with student dismissal. Let me line it up for you.

Imagine if you invested in Amazon, Google, Tesla, or Facebook when they first went public. If you knew back then what you know today, you all would have bought shares in these stocks. And you would be all reaping their benefits today. Investing in children today is tomorrow’s Amazon and Google.

If we keep children in school and educate them, they will pay the Medicare and social security benefits we will need tomorrow. Investing in kids today will only help and support you tomorrow when you need it.

Now, let me play you what the other side will say – what if a first-grader brings a weapon? If that is the case, then – Houston we have a problem bigger than discipline which this bill addresses if there is a serious safety threat to the student or others.

Some may say – well this is an unfunded mandate. Actually, school districts are funded to teach and educate children. In other words, keeping kids in school is funded and mandated. Please do not get distracted and focus on what is important. Keeping small children in the classroom is the biggest investment we can make today. Let us do it this year and carry it to the finish line.

I thank you as always

Idil Abdull – Somali Autism Mom & Advocate


The above words do not reflect any candidate, agency, or committee.


Comments Off on When will Minnesota Departments of Health & Human Services graduate from advice to Action? Never unless we stand-up to them

Alright – so, today I testified about HF 4112 which is about minorities giving advice to MN MDH and DHS about health racial disparities. Seriously, do you do know how many councils and advisory committees I have seen since I have been advocating for the past decade or so? more than I care to count. When we are at the leadership table then advice from a council is not needed because we are at the TABLE.

MN DHS and MDH create, maintain and enhance racial health disparities. They are the grandmother, father, and mother of health disparities. They never hire black & brown middle management, directors, managers, and supervisors. The few who work harder than most are forced to leave because they create a hostile and retaliation environment. Yet, the state legislators keep funding them. Why?

I appreciate what Rep. Vang is trying to do in this bill, but as someone who has been around the block and old enough to know how state health and human service agencies operate – I would not trust them with a 10-foot pole. I hope you write a bill to hold or suspend the funding they get when they discriminate and treat us differently. I hope you write a bill that makes them collect racial data on the number of providers they go after and how differently black and brown providers are treated at DHS vs how white providers are. I assure you there is a big difference. They are biased at best and racist at worst. MDH is even worse if you can believe it.

Here is my testimony – sooooo frustrating to deal with MDH and DHS.


Minnesota House of Representatives

Health Finance & Policy Committee

Chair: Rep. Liebling

March 14, 2022

            Re: HF 4112

Dear Madam Chair and Members,

Many thanks for the opportunity to testify and give you my two cents on this bill and about health equity and health disparities in Minnesota. I feel like I have seen a bill like this too many times during my advocacy of over 10 years now. Many legislators in this body and the senate have created and passed health equity councils before. There have been recommendations and reports. Nothing fruitful has been produced from them because we never get to the production part; always the advice and council portion.

Black, Brown & Native Americans in Minnesota are at the bottom of every pit in health, education, and in-between. We do not need council members to tell us what we already know, feel, and live with. What we need is for state legislators to graduate from more meaningless councils to hold both the health and human services agencies accountable for creating disparities.

You see as a black woman, I do not say in the morning – I will have a cup of coffee, a bowl of cereal, and disparities. Racial disparities are created by both MDH and DHS leadership.

Here is how and what you can do about it.

  1. Ask MDH why there are almost or maybe none now directors and supervisors who are black and brown. Ask the current commissioner why she interviewed a Somali Mayo research doctor many times but never hired him. Does it also take that many interviews to hire Ph.D. white employees? My guess is no.
  2. Just in autism, ask MDH even though they are in charge of and get funded to do assessments and assurance – why they never do it. They are supposed to do outreach to all communities and let families know about autism signs and what supports, and services are available. They do not which creates disparities.
  3. Ask the current governor or any previous governor – how many black or brown DHS/MDH commissioners have been appointed? And please do not tell us there are no qualified ones. There are plenty who are more qualified. That creates disparities – the inability to give equal opportunities that whites in Minnesota enjoy.
  4. Ask DHS why so many black and brown employees quit or were fired? Some have sued for discrimination and won. Ask them why the culture inside DHS is toxic for black and brown employees.
  5. Ask DHS why they disproportionately close and shut down black/brown agencies while the white ones are nurtured, trained, and supported. It is all public data and facts, yet DHS keeps doing it with impunity. Did you know DHS does not keep racial data on the providers whose livelihood they destroy? Write a law that requires them to track and keep racial data.
  6. Ask the current DHS administration why more employees of color have been retaliated against, fired, or have filed discrimination cases. See data below.

In 2017 – 7 complained of discrimination against DHS; 2018 – there were 22; 2019 there were 31 and in 2020 there were 23. Why so many? Ask DHS.

You see Madam Chair and Members; we do not need another group to tell us what we already know. We need you to hold these agencies accountable for creating and sustaining health disparities. The disparities that MDH/DHS creates and maintains should be connected to the funding they get from you.

  1. Even the U of MN which is a state agency, ask them how many health researchers of color they produce and nurture? Yet they keep getting millions of dollars; why should they do better when there are no consequences for the disparities they create and enhance?

Racial disparities in Minnesota are the worst because those with the power allow it, continue it, and benefit from it. It even has a name Minnesota Paradox.

Thanks as always

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Advocate

The above words do not reflect any candidate, agency, or committee.

Idil – Somali Autism Mom and really frustrated advocate

Comments Off on MN OLA Releases its long awaited report on Minnesota’s education gap & MDE’s role

Alright – so, the Minnesota office of legislative auditor (OLA) released a report that many of us have been waiting for that was about education gap in this state and what the education department has been doing about it. To no one’s surprise, MDE sucks in this area and in so many others. The auditor shared their report with the House education finance committee this week. I listened and thought it was really good. I am sad they did not add suspension to the reasons education gap exists. They said they only looked at the four areas that are in the law which I guess makes sense.

The commissioner of the state education department spoke after the OLA office and as usual, was defensive and refused to take any ownership of MDE’s failure in addressing the state’s horrible education disparities. This was the best opportunity to own mistakes, come up with corrective actions and apologize to the thousands of Minnesota families who have endured education gap.

What was interesting in this report was that there is not a definition of what an education gap is in law. Interesting. I guess one could say by third grade all children black, white and brown should be able to read, write and do basic math is a good way to measure.

I hope legislatures come up with some laws and policies to not just define what the heck education gap is but to decrease and eliminate it. Education is the key to life’s success and/or failures. If we are failing our kids then we are failing our success and future.

You can read the full report here if you like.

The above words do not reflect any candidate, agency, or committee.

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Advocate

Comments Off on Diversity is Needed in Principals Association and MN state high school league

Alright – so, Robbinsdale school district athletic students were insulted with racist and hurtful remarks by New Prague students and adults. Oh boy. I testified regarding a bill in the MN House that was about this (MSHSL). Essentially, the bill does nothing to rectify this; it basically keeps the same rules which is not ok. There needs to be more black and brown members on this board that is too vanilla for my taste. Additionally, both the high school principals and the school board associations staff and board lack diversity. So depressing. When we are not at the table, we are on the menu.


Minnesota House Education Policy Committee

Chair Rep. Ruth Richardson

March 7, 2022

Dear Madam Chair & Members,

Many thanks for the opportunity to testify today. My name is Idil Abdull; I am a Somali Autism Mom and Advocate who would like to retire from advocacy as soon as our children are protected from unions and lobbyists.

I want to tell you today that I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I am tired of constantly being told with facts and data that students who look like me are failing in publicly funded school districts, being suspended, being expelled, and being insulted.

I am tired of the adults who are in charge of these school districts having no accountability and consequences for their failures and hurtful policies. I am tired of state legislatures always playing politics with our children’s education and well-being. I am tired of legislatures we have elected to amend, change, add and delete education laws never do what is best for ALL kids.

I am tired of legislatures never taking away funds or disciplinary actions against school districts who keep failing our kids and cause long-term trauma and emotional pain for so many families including mine.

I ask you – why can’t you stand up for the students and hold these school districts accountable? Children are blank page and only repeat what they have heard from their environment, homes, and communities. It is the adults in their lives that need to be held accountable with tangible actions.

When will you finally do that?

House file #2246 asks to amend the board for the high school league is a promising idea. However, to have one parent represent all minorities is an insult and offensive. The sheer volume of minority students and families who have suffered and endured so much trauma caused by schools, particularly high schools should be taken into account. More minority parent representation is a must and necessary. I would also add one of the two secondary principals represent minorities. Currently, the current board for MASSP has no black or brown person. I think that is shameful.

MASSP Board: 10 white men and two white women.

MASSP Executive Staff: 4 white men and 1 white woman.


Idil Abdull

The above words do not represent any candidate, agency, or committee.

Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Advocate