Archive for the ‘Education Minnesota’ Category

Trying to figure out Tim Walz’s plan for reopening schools might take weeks. Figuring out whether Gov. Walz is a slave to EdMinn takes much less time. Tim Walz and the DFL essentially are indentured servants to EdMinn. They don’t dare do what’s right for the students. That’s how Gov. Walz and the DFL finished with the plan they’re currently pitching.

David Perry had been waiting for months to learn whether his two middle-­school children will be heading back to their Shoreview school in the fall.

He was still left hanging Thursday after Gov. Tim Walz announced a localized, model-driven approach to opening schools in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Decisions on whether to return to class, continue distance learning, or use some hybrid of both, will depend on the number of COVID-19 cases in a given area and a school’s ability to meet health and safety standards. School districts are expected to announce in the coming weeks one of three learning models they will use based on the formula laid out by the administration.

“I don’t feel like I know any more today about what is going to happen in September than I did yesterday, and we’ve been building up to this big announcement,” said Perry, whose son has Down syndrome and autism spectrum disorder. The family needs more time to plan for his education. “I don’t feel I’m any closer to understanding what’s going to happen with my kids or my work schedule,” Perry said.

Tim Walz is the anti-science governor. The DFL is his enabler. For months, child care centers have been operating safely. Despite facing the same hurdles, Tim Walz and the DFL can’t figure out how to safely return students to schools. (Perhaps we should put child care operators in charge of reopening schools. I’m only partially kidding.)

DFL House Speaker Melissa Hortman said she was pleased that Walz also announced plans to pump an additional $250 million of coronavirus relief funding into classrooms as they prepare for new social distancing measures. Among them will be a requirement for those who return to the classroom to wear masks. “Our districts need additional resources to provide the high-quality education we expect while keeping Minnesotans safe,” Hortman said.

Why isn’t the DFL pushing Gov. Walz to make classrooms safe so students can return to school? Why hasn’t the DFL admitted that students aren’t at risk, that the only people who might be at risk are older teachers? Instead, Gov. Walz and the DFL put together a plan that Einstein would have difficulty deciphering.

At the start of this clip, Gov. Walz tells a whopper:

This is a localized, data-driven approach to make sure that school districts where it is physically possible to teach our students, we will do that.

The matrix put together by the Walz administration has tons of caveats in it. That’s foolish. Students, especially grade school students, don’t transmit the virus. This isn’t opinion. It’s the finding of Dr. Scott Atlas of the Hoover Institution:

On Good Morning San Diego, Dr. Atlas said we are one of the only countries that is not planning to reopen our schools. “The data is clear. Whether it’s from Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, France, Spain, the United States, Asia, all over the world, children do not have any serious disease. Children almost never transmit the disease. In fact, Switzerland is contemplating stopping even testing children because it’s irrelevant.”

Continuing, “there is not serious risk of even getting the illness. But that’s not even the point here, I want to go even further. By now, we know who is at risk. K-12 teachers in the United States, half of them are under 41 years of age, they’re not at risk. 82% are under 55-years-old, if there is a handful, which there are, teachers in the high-risk category, don’t they know how to protect themselves with their so called 6-feet spacing and mask rules? And if they’re still afraid, even if they don’t want to do that, then they can teach from home. I don’t understand why they have to lock up schools.”

The statistics point in one direction. The statistics show that students, especially younger students, aren’t transmitters of COVID. The point isn’t to wait until the virus is gone. The policy should be to mitigate as much of the risk as possible. That points to making things like plexiglass walls in classrooms standard to eliminate what little risk there is for teachers.

It’s apparent that St. Paul and Minneapolis teachers don’t want to return to traditional classrooms this fall. If that’s what they prefer, they should be fired. This article reports that “Twin Cities educators on Friday called on Gov. Tim Walz to delay a return to in-person instruction in the fall, saying the risks of reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic are too great.”

That’s BS according to Dr. Scott Atlas, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. Dr. Atlas had “an I-told-you-so-moment” recently during this interview:

During that “I-told-you-so-moment”, Dr. Atlas said “the children have an extremely low risk to this disease, far less than seasonal flu. Number 2, there are massive harms closing schools to the children and those are extremely important, of course, because every policy we do, we must understand the consequences of the policy itself are.”

Later, Dr. Atlas said this:

They have acknowledged that long-distance learning is a failure, that children learn much more in person, from social gatherings, dealing with conflict resolutions, working with groups, that schools provide nutrition…

These teachers just showed their true colors. The risk isn’t “too great.” The younger the student, the less the risk is that they’re a super spreader and the less risk that they’ll get the virus. That’s a verified fact. These teachers are lying. Period. Full stop.

If Gov. Walz caves to Education Minnesota, which is definitely possible, he should be thrown out of office after one term. Putting EdMinn’s wishes ahead of these students’ needs is unforgiveable. It’s quite possible because EdMinn is a subsidiary of the DFL.

This is dishonesty at its most disgusting:

The St. Paul and Minneapolis teachers unions organized a march from J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School to the governor’s residence. Walking alongside parents and students, some carried signs that read “I can’t teach from a grave” and “Exactly how many dead kids is acceptable?”

Thus far, 1 child has died in Minnesota of COVID. As for the “I can’t teach from a grave” sign, I’ll just say that the students might be better off if they didn’t have these teachers. Minnesota, in my estimation, would be far better off without Gov. Walz and the DFL majority in the House.

Gianno Caldwell’s op-ed shines a light on the pathway for President Trump’s re-election. In his op-ed, Caldwell, an African-American, states “President Trump and Republicans have delivered for the black community on tangible policies that have had a positive impact — something the Democrats never achieved.”

President Trump is fantastic at exciting his base voters. That’s the strongest part of his campaign game. Policywise, President Trump is excellent at delivering for African-Americans. Don’t trust me. Just ask Alice Marie Johnson. Better yet, listen to Sen. Tim Scott, (R-SC), and HUD Secretary Ben Carson. Sen. Scott and Secretary Carson worked together on the Opportunity Zones provisions in the Trump tax cuts.

The Opportunity Zones provisions transformed inner city hell holes into potential prosperous oases in virtually no time. Minority unemployment rates didn’t drop to historic lows accidentally. They happened because President Trump, Sen. Scott and Secretary Carson worked together to make something beautiful happen. Let’s remember that Carson grew up in inner-city Detroit. Saying that he was dirt poor is understatement. I don’t know where Sen. Scott grew up. I just know that he grew up dirt poor, too. President Trump didn’t grow up dirt poor but he was raised as a real estate developer. He understands what it takes to turn a run-down neighborhood into a rising middle-class neighborhood.

Each day, Tim Scott and Ben Carson should hold a press conference and ask the reporters what Joe Biden’s specific plans are for fixing minority neighborhoods. They should then cite the accomplishments that President Trump has made already, then report that they plan on working with him to expand opportunity scholarships and school choice.

Each day, Tim Scott and Ben Carson should be sent to Baltimore, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh or Detroit. Their day should include meeting with parents and entrepreneurs willing to invest in these neighborhoods. It should include a discussion on how these investors/developers could establish a scholarship fund with a little help from the tax code.

It should also include a conversation with parents on what their ‘ideal neighborhood’ would include. Getting investors to invest in these neighborhoods builds a trust that’s long been missing. Doesn’t that suggest that that’s what’s needed immediately?

Challenge Democrats to talk about what their plans are for revitalizing neighborhoods and building the schools of the future. The dirty little secret is that the Democrats can’t deviate from their ancient blueprint of throwing more money at a problem. That’s because the unions won’t let them change the blueprint.

Tim Scott and Ben Carson are 2 of the calmest-sounding people in government. If they can’t break through to apolitical parents, then this nation is lost. I don’t believe it’s lost. That’s why, after watching this video again, I’m more optimistic than ever:

Let’s force the Democrats to defend their record on racial policies. Republicans, unfortunately, don’t have a great record either. At least Republicans can say that they’re willing to change to make minority lives better. Democrats can’t say that.

Each budget year, the DFL insists on ‘investing’ more on ‘education’. Each year, the DFL ignores the massive amounts of money essentially thrown into a dumpster by education bureaucrats.

Harold Hamilton’s commentary (If you haven’t subscribed, you should) highlights that waste, citing a St. Paul Pioneer Press article:

A recent article in the Pioneer Press explains that capital improvement projects in the district are experiencing massive cost overruns, even by government standards. There are 18 such projects that are running a collective $180 million over the projected budget of just two years ago.

In what could have been the quote of the week, a former school district official observed, “Every contractor wants to come work for St. Paul Public Schools because it’s frickin’ open checkbook.”

As is so typical in government, it appears that oversight and expertise were woefully lacking in this case.

Then Hamilton cites an example:

Perhaps the most egregious example of the waste is at Humboldt High School, where a $14.4 million project estimate now sits at $48 million, just two years later.

And what are taxpayers getting for their considerable investment in these schools and the district?

  1. At Humboldt, 28% of their students don’t graduate.
  2. Only 19% are proficient in reading.
  3. Only 10% are proficient in math.
  4. A dismal 6.5% are proficient in science.

The legislature should refuse to subsidize this failure and demand strict accountability for both spending and results in the classroom.

That’s theft. The people ‘teaching’ these students are stealing these students’ futures. When 1 out of 20 students are proficient in science, that’s theft. When 9 of 10 students fail at math, that’s theft. That must end ASAP.

Further, Education Minnesota must be made to pay for this theft. Ditto with the administrators who apparently don’t care whether students learn or not. Ditto with the DFL, who keep feeding the broken beast. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why this crisis hasn’t been turned around.

The DFL is owned by Education Minnesota. Education Minnesota is anti-competition. That means it’s anti-accountability, too. As long as there’s a DFL governor or a DFL majority in the Minnesota House or Senate, they’ll fight to maintain the status quo even if taxpayers are getting screwed. Education Minnesota’s primary mission is helping raise teachers’ salaries. It isn’t about helping students.

What type of system allows a $14,400,000 project to turn into a $48,000,000 project? You’d have to essentially be comatose to miss that. Whoever missed it should’ve been fired instantly, then ordered to spend time in prison for defrauding taxpayers. Further, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the subcontractors are friends of the person who didn’t detect the massive overruns. It’s difficult to believe that anyone’s that incompetent. It isn’t difficult to think that someone associated with a school district is that corrupt.

The DFL won’t hold these thieves accountable. That’s how the DFL buys votes. The only way to hold the DFL accountable is to restore the Republican majority in the House and maintain the GOP majority in the Senate, then force reforms that would eliminate this type of corruption. That means putting stiff criminal penalties on people who commit this type of graft.

This tweet from Sarah Jo Johnson highlights the battle between gun control advocates and gun rights advocates. The tweet says “I wish the @mnhousegop listened to students and teachers. Most don’t want guns in schools. But we’d love some school counselors.”

Personally, I’m skeptical that Ms. Johnson’s tweet represents reality. I suspect that it better represents her ideology than reality. I’m skeptical because I wrote this post, which includes information that conflicts with Ms. Johnson’s statement. According to the article I quote, “An Ohio Sheriff is offering free gun training to teachers in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead. Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones told FOX Business’ Liz MacDonald that the response from teachers and school administrators has been overwhelming. ‘We thought we’d get 20, 25 signed up. We had 50 within the first hour. We had 100 within two hours, we had three hundred within like five hours. We offered to teachers first, then we start getting calls from a secretary that works in the school, janitors that work in the school,’ Jones said.”

Frankly, I’m skeptical of anyone attempting to speak on behalf of an entire group of people. A group of people doesn’t automatically make them a monolith.


Later in the article, it said “The Butler County Sheriff said the limit of 300 had been reached for the class.” What’s interesting is that Ms. Johnson’s statement essentially said that they need counselors after an attack but they don’t need guns to stop the attacker. I’d love hearing her explain that position to parents.

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Hearing Angie Craig and Rebecca Otto talked about education should be considered cruel and unusual punishment. First, I have to talk about a statement Ms. Craig made during the event. She said “I’m running for Congress in 2018 and I’m coming back to claim our seat.”

Though she wants to focus on education, Ms. Craig apparently isn’t interested in history. It’s been quite some time since a Democrat represented MN-2 in Congress. According to Wikipedia’s history of CD-2, Republicans have held the seat 66 of the last 74 years. That’s a pretty red district. But I digress.

During her presentation, State Auditor Rebecca Otto sounded like a typical far left liberal, saying “A lot of the politics that end up getting passed by the politics of greed end up running over our interests and the common good. The people’s interest and our values, 2018 will really be defined by the politics of greed versus the politics of people and the common good. The politics of greed say all taxes are bad and need to be slashed. That all regulation is bad and must be repealed. That all government workers are bad and must be privatized – that’s our roads, our airports and our schools. As your governor, no public funds are going to private schools.”

Translation: I’m owned by Education Minnesota. The achievement gap will continue or get worse.

I’d describe Ms. Otto’s messaging as scorched earth messaging. There isn’t a hint of nuance to it. The implied message behind Ms. Otto’s words is simple: Republicans are evil. They only look out for themselves. Initially, I thought that this was her messaging to be the DFL gubernatorial candidate. I’m not certain that’s the case anymore. I think there’s a possibility that that’s just who she is as a candidate.

If Republicans get to run against Ms. Otto, it’ll be a gift. She’s an environmental extremist who voted against mining leases, then tried fundraising off of that vote. She’s suing the legislature for limiting the State Auditor’s responsibilities. That lawsuit is costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. What’s worse is that she’s going to lose that case.

Finally, she’s a Metrocrat that hates mining. Considering the fact that Donald Trump thumped HRC on the Iron Range last year, that’s a significant gift to the Republican candidate.

Minnesota is one of several states in the nation leading in education with one of the worst achievement gaps in the nation. As Alpha News reported in 2016, Minnesota led the nation with the highest achievement gap when it came to science scores between white and black eighth grade students.

Ms. Otto needs to work on her presentation skills:

That’s brutal. She won’t get another chance to make a first impression with that audience.

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The first thing I noticed about the St. Cloud Times’ endorsed school board candidates is that they’re ideologues. They’ve drank the School Board’s Kool-Aid. They each agree that voters must approve the $143,250,000 bonding referendum. These endorsed candidates don’t care that property taxes will skyrocket because of this vote. These endorsed candidates don’t care about the people living in St. Cloud who are living on modest fixed incomes and what those property tax increases will do to their family budgets.

They certainly don’t care that building the new Tech HS isn’t necessary. They don’t care that building the new Tech HS is foolish. They’ve gotten their marching orders and they’re going to do their best to carry those marching orders out.

It’s been reported that the ISD 742 School Board has held listening sessions. That isn’t true. They held gatherings that started with a professionally-produced presentation. It’s indisputable fact that it’s impossible to listen when you’re talking.

The Times’ Editorial Board did their best to spin these candidates’ qualifications but it won’t work. Here’s what they wrote:

Yes, on the surface all four might not seem to offer much diversity. But their answers to written questions from this board, campaign materials, experiences and news coverage about all eight candidacies show they are the best qualified to help lead the district in addressing its many challenges.

It isn’t just the surface that makes it seem like they “might not seem to offer much diversity.” It’s that they’re cookie-cutter DFL/Education Minnesota ideologues who won’t hesitate to raise taxes and rubberstamp Willie Jett’s agenda.

Frankly, the decisions that this board has made have been questionable at best. That’s especially true with the purchase of the land where the proposed new Tech HS is supposed to be located. When they first purchased it, they didn’t bother to determine whether it was fit for building on. It wasn’t. That’s why they had to do a land swap with the City of St. Cloud.

Now these ideologues want us to write them a blank check in the amount of $143,000,000? It isn’t just that I don’t think so. It’s that I’m saying ‘Hell no!‘ to these ideologues. I’ll say that emphatically by voting for just one candidate, John Palmer. Unlike these ideologues, Dr. Palmer won’t hesitate to ask the difficult questions. Unlike these ideologues, Dr. Palmer won’t hesitate in saying no to Education Minnesota’s agenda. Unlike these ideologues, Dr. Palmer will be the taxpayers’ and the students’ watchdog. Unlike these 4 ideologues, Dr. Palmer has earned my vote with his ideas, intelligence and his independence.

Finally, it’s time to tell the School Board that a) they work for us, b) they don’t work for Education Minnesota and/or Willie Jett and c) we aren’t their ATMs.

For years, the Twin Cities drew high marks as two of the best cities in America to live in. They rate high in “their green spaces, culinary scene and jobs. High median incomes, low unemployment and poverty rates and affordable housing” contribute to the Twin Cities’ high ratings. Apparently, there’s a secret for the Twin Cities’ high ratings. According to this article, the secret is “you have to be white.”

Politico Magazine then adds that “Twin Cities, it turns out, are also home to some of the worst racial disparities in the country. In metrics across the board—household income, unemployment rates, poverty rates and education attainment—the gap between white people and people of color is significantly larger in Minnesota than it is most everywhere else. Earlier this year, WalletHub used government data to measure financial inequality among racial groups in each state and found that in 2015, Minnesota ranked dead last overall.”

It’s wise to take this article with a grain of salt because the article is written with a definite lefty perspective:

It seems illogical that inequality could thrive in one of the country’s most liberal states, home to past progressive icons like Paul Wellstone and Hubert Humphrey.

~~~~~

Academics, activists and researchers offer different conjectures as to how Minnesota achieved the ignominious title of “Worst in the Country,” for racial differences in wealth, status and education. Their analyses told a story of misguided attempts at desegregation, ignorance surrounding the state’s racist history and a systemic negligence that prevents communities of color from partaking in the state’s prosperity.

Actually, it isn’t difficult to imagine that there’s income inequality in the Twin Cities. Education Minnesota is a powerful lobbyist that essentially intimidates DFL politicians into following Education Minnesota’s agenda to a T. That includes DFL politicians voting against meaningful school reforms. Education Minnesota prides itself in opposing school reforms.

I wrote this post to highlight the Board of Teaching’s corruption:

Ramsey County Judge Shawn Bartsh “blasted the state’s Board of Teaching for suddenly stopping a program that allowed experienced teachers, often from out of state, to get teaching licenses through an alternate method called ‘licensure via portfolio.’ The judge ordered the agency to resume the program, as required by law.”

Many of these teachers want to teach in the inner city, where their help would help shrink the achievement gap significantly. Instead, the EdMinn-influenced Board of Teaching ignores laws it doesn’t like.

With corruption like that, it isn’t difficult to see why income inequality is so prominent in the Twin Cities. It would surprising not to find income inequality in a place like that.

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Zach Dorholt’s op-ed in this morning’s St. Cloud Times is a reminder of why he should be a one-term wonder. The Times asked what the legislature’s top priorities were. According to Dorholt, the answer is ” a constitutional one. The Minnesota Constitution obligates the Legislature to fund transportation and education.”

While it’s true that Minnesota’s constitution talks about transportation and education, it’s equally true that education was fully funded in last year’s budget. The budget that was adopted last year was a bipartisan budget that reflected both parties’ priorities. In short, neither party got everything they wanted but the people got a budget that funded everyone’s needs. What they didn’t get was everything on the special interests’ wish lists.

That’s why it isn’t worth paying attention to some of Dorholt’s drivel. In Dorholt’s op-ed, he brags about the fantastic job they did. Q: If you did such a magnificent job, why were you fired after your first term? Q2: If your education funding was so positive and so historic, why have school boards increased their operating levies? They’ve done that all across Minnesota. They’ve raised property taxes in both St. Cloud and in Princeton.

Simply put, Dorholt’s rhetoric doesn’t match Dorholt’s record.

The last Legislature — of which I was a member — left this Legislature a budget surplus for a reason: the next generation of Minnesotans deserves the same quality-funded education their predecessors got.

However, these legislators have let college and university tuition go up again, forcing students to foot another large bill, or take out more loans, or even forgo college altogether. We still have a lot of catching up to do for our schools and colleges.

Let’s talk about Dorholt’s time in the legislature. Specifically, let’s discuss his time as vice-chair of the House Higher Education Committee. During his time as vice-chair, Dorholt ignored St. Cloud State’s financial and enrollment problems. There’s a reason why Dorholt only talks about tuitions going up. It’s because his time on the House Higher Education Committee was a disaster.

St. Cloud State is pretty much the poster child for financial dysfunctionality. Dorholt’s solution was to throw more money at the problem without fixing the underlying problem. In fact, there’s little evidence that he was interested in finding out what the underlying problems were.

It’s just more proof that you can’t find what you refuse to look for. Dorholt’s ostrich strategy (burying his head in the sand) didn’t work the last time he was in the legislature. That’s why he shouldn’t be returned to the legislature. He was a failure then. Nothing he’s said suggests that he won’t be a failure again.

What’s happening in Prior Lake-Savage school district needs to be highlighted to the rest of Minnesota. This article asks 3 important questions, each of which deserve answers. The first question in Hannah Jones’ article asks “Is the district trying to influence students to vote ‘yes’ by giving referendum presentations during the school day?”

What’s appalling is that the answer is “During the senior meeting, much of the time was devoted to issues like prom safety and graduation ceremony preparation, but during the last six minutes or so of the program, Superintendent Teri Staloch introduced herself to the students, congratulated them on their impending graduation and showed them the district’s four-minute video presentation on the upcoming election. She also asked how many students in the audience were 18 and old enough to vote. It may not be typical for the school to show informational material on a referendum election during a student meeting, but that, Lund said, is because it’s not typical to have a referendum question on the ballot during springtime.”

Then there’s this tasty tidbit:

If they happen to meet during a fall election season, Lund said, he will encourage students to vote.

This sounds like the school district’s attempt to railroad high school students into voting for the bonding referendum. The bond is for $129,000,000. If that sounds like it’ll lead to a huge property tax increase, that’s because it’ll lead to a huge property tax increase. Here’s an additional question that the school district hasn’t answered: has the district looked into whether this could be done less expensively? Here’s another question: Has the district just accepted Nexus Solutions’ influence into this project? They’ve got an interest in this, a very big interest in this:

Nexus Solutions will be compensated at 2.25 percent of the total cost of program management, 7.95 percent of the cost of architectural services, 8.95 percent of the cost of engineering services, 2.5 percent of the cost of commissioning services and 5.75 percent of construction management services.

The reason why this question is important is because of how the school board reacted when their contract with Nexus was questioned:

When “Prior Lake-Savage Area School Board, Member Melissa Enger asked to re-examine the Nexus contracts,” the board “tensely shut down the conversation by taking a quorum on the subject. A majority voted to go with the day’s agenda rather than getting into the contract.”

Prior Lake-Savage voters should reject the referendum just on the basis that their school board is attempting to hide important details from making their way into the discussion. Why else would they shut this line of questioning down that quickly?

Another reason to reject this referendum is highlighted by this question in Hannah Jones’ article: Why is the referendum in May? The spin from Superintendent Staloch is insulting:

Spring is a less expected time to hold an election, which some residents have questioned. Staloch said district officials chose May 24 for the date to expedite the construction process, given that the referendum passes.

“Due to the current and projected rise in student enrollment, coupled with the fact that building construction for a new elementary school would take two years, the school board made the decision to place the referendum question before voters as early as possible,” she said. “If voters approve the referendum, a new elementary school would open for the 2018-2019 school year. If we waited until November to place the question before voters, we would not be able to open the new school until 2019-2020.”

Simply put, that’s rubbish. The reason the school board opted for a May 24th vote is to keep turnout as low as possible. They don’t want the vote to happen in November because that means they’d have to deal with lots more voters. They’d prefer keeping turnout low so that those in the ‘education industry’ will outnumber citizens.