Education Minnesota fails reality check

The million-dollar public relations campaign by the state teacher union Education Minnesota failed a reality check by Pat Kessler of WCCO-TV Channel 4 (and 100.3 KTLK-FM).

One of its TV ads features an older, white male politician (read: Republican) on the campaign trail, saying, "Minnesota schools have stood with the best for long enough. It's time to slash education spending and lower standards. Mediocrity, mediocrity, mediocrity."

Kessler responds, "In fact, Minnesota spent $6.6 billion on school last year. It will spend $6.9 billion this year...Educators complain because the state didn't keep up with inflation, they have to cut school budgets to make up the difference."

As to the inference of "mediocrity" during the Pawlenty administration, Kessler notes, "Minnesota ranks number 16 in the nation in money spent per pupil; number one in college ACT scores; and number one in high school graduation rates."

I don't expect this to show up as an example of "critical thinking" in your kid's mass communications class, but feel free to suggest it.

UPDATE: Mitch Berg of The Northern Alliance of Blogs linked to this post from Shot in the Dark, saying, "[Scholar's Notebook] is one of the better edublogs in the business, and an essential read on the subject." Thanks Mitch!

One of the commenters to Mitch's post on this topic provided a link to a related speech by Bill Gates, on February 26, 2005, to the National Education Summit on High Schools. In the speech, Gates lays out a grim picture of U.S. education relative to the rest of the world.