1. To whom should the public schools in Minnesota be "accountable?" According to the Pioneer Press, "The proposals will be the basis for possible changes in the way Minnesota's teachers are trained, scrutinized and rewarded for years to come, Gov. Tim Pawlenty said." This is a profound statement. More and more, our schools are accountable to the government, meaning bureaucrats and lawmakers who are heavily influenced by lobbyists from Education Minnesota (teachers union) and education groups. Parents, who send their children to public schools, and taxpayers, who pay for the schools, are underrepresented in the mix. Even many of the so-called "parent groups" are directed by school districts and union interests, if you peel back even the first layer of their organizational onions.
"If it is believed that... elementary schools will be better managed by the governor and council, the commissioners of the literary fund or any other general authority of the government than by the parents within each ward, it is a belief against all experience. Try the principle one step further, and... commit to the governor and council the management of all our farms, our mills and merchants' stores... No, my friend, the way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to every one exactly the functions he is competent to."
Everyone claims to be in favor of "local control," but the devil is in the details. As you evaluate these plans, ask how "local" is local control, really?
2. It's all about the money. The Pioneer Press reported: "Senate Education Chairman Steve Kelley, a Democrat, said although he had questions, he generally supported the plan as long as there was money to go with it."
Well, this is certainly a better reception than Sen. Kelley gave Cheri Yecke. No one likes unfunded mandates. But please ask the Minnesota House of Representatives candidate in your district (before Election Day), is there such a thing as "adequate funding" for schools? How much is enough?