The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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May 18, 2013

DFL budget leaves out reform


Economizing the government means going line by line in our state budget, reducing budgets where necessary, and either combining or eliminating departments that have outlived their usefulness. In fact an easy fix is to simply reduce the projected growth of automatic spending increases for government programs.

The point here is this DFL Legislature wants to once again grow government. Take the education budget as an example. The DFL says they are raising taxes to improve education for our Minnesota students. That sounds noble, but in reality that is not what is happening. The current Legislature has removed the requirement for basic skills testing to become a teacher, delayed teacher evaluation put into law just last year, and removed the necessity for a student to even pass a test to graduate from high school. That doesn’t appear to me like the Legislature is improving education.

In the meantime when many of our students try to get into our own Minnesota colleges, they have to take remedial reading and math classes to qualify. See “Getting Prepared: A 2010 Report on Recent High School Graduates Who Took Developmental/Remedial Courses,” University of Minnesota (January 2011). Why are we dumbing down our Minnesota education system when we should be striving to produce world-class education? The answer lies in Education Minnesota, the teachers union.

Minnesota has many wonderful, dedicated teachers who have told me Education Minnesota is no longer representing them. Growing education and gaining more members is more important to Education Minnesota than producing measurable results. From 1992 to 2009 student population growth was 8 percent, total school personal grew 40 percent with teacher personnel increasing 18 percent.

If you produce measurable results you might be able to hold both students and teachers accountable and responsible. Education Minnesota doesn’t want inferior teachers to be held responsible.

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