Archive for the ‘Education’ Category
This Peggy Noonan article dovetails nicely with Glenn Reynolds’ excellent column about “Irish Democracy”, which I wrote about in this post. First, here’s Dr. Reynolds’ explanation of the foundation of Irish Democracy:
In his excellent book, Two Cheers For Anarchism, Professor James Scott writes:
One need not have an actual conspiracy to achieve the practical effects of a conspiracy. More regimes have been brought, piecemeal, to their knees by what was once called ‘Irish Democracy,’ the silent, dogged resistance, withdrawal, and truculence of millions of ordinary people, than by revolutionary vanguards or rioting mobs.
Simply put, people refusing to buy insurance through the Anything But Affordable Care Act’s exchanges are putting the ABACA in impossible financial straights. This was made necessary when Senate Democrats and this administration wouldn’t listen to the American people. In Ms. Noonan’s opinion, they still aren’t listening:
As the president made his jaunty claims and the senators and congressmen responded semirapturously I kept thinking of four words: Meanwhile, back in America…
Meanwhile, back in America, the Little Sisters of the Poor were preparing their legal briefs. The Roman Catholic order of nuns first came to America in 1868 and were welcomed in every city they entered. They now run about 30 homes for the needy across the country. They have, quite cruelly, been told they must comply with the ObamaCare mandate that all insurance coverage include contraceptives, sterilization procedures, morning-after pills. If they don’t—and of course they can’t, being Catholic, and nuns—they will face ruinous fines.
In this instance, it isn’t just that the Obama administration isn’t listening to the American people. It’s that they’re ignoring the Constitution, too. That’s before considering the fact that this administration made exceptions to the ABACA for its well-connected friends.
The message sent to the nation is exceptionally straightforward: Well-connected friends of Barack Obama get special privileges. People whom this President despises get the shaft. (That’s right. I didn’t forget about the bitter clingers.) President Obama’s disdain for blue collar people isn’t news. It’s just disgusting. That’s why people have turned their back on him.
Meanwhile, back in America…
Meanwhile, back in America, conservatives targeted and harassed by the Internal Revenue Service still await answers on their years-long requests for tax exempt status. When news of the IRS targeting broke last spring, agency officials lied about it, and one took the Fifth. The president said he was outraged, had no idea, read about it in the papers, boy was he going to get to the bottom of it. An investigation was announced but somehow never quite materialized.
If ever there was something that got the masses fuming, it should be the thought of a politically ruthless administration using the IRS as a weapon to eliminate its political enemies. And yes, this administration has used the IRS as a weapon against TEA Party activists and other conservative organizations.
In less than 3 years, we’ll have the opportunity to wipe the memories of this administration from our memory. It’s imperative that we accomplish that. It’s imperative that we elect someone that will listen to the American people. That means electing a pro-reform governor that respects the Constitution, preferably Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich or Mike Pence.
I didn’t include Jeb Bush or Christie in that bunch. They don’t respect the Constitution. People want politicians that don’t think of themselves as being above the Constitution or the rule of law. Bush supports Common Core, which wants to strip away local control of education. That’s certainly anti-constitutional. Christie supports gun control, something totally at odds with the Constitution.
It’s time we elected a president that’s run things and accomplished things that’ve helped families. Bobby Jindal fits that description. While campaigning, he listened to parents who hated the education options their children had. That’s why he pushed for school choice. Thanks to his listening, school choice legislation was signed into law in Louisiana.
John Kasich fits that description. He fought for the same union reforms that Scott Walker did. He also cut taxes while eliminating Ohio’s deficit. Thanks to Gov. Kasich’s popular pro-growth agenda, Ohio is headed in the right direction.
Scott Walker listened to Wisconsinites’ cries for lower property taxes. He pushed union reforms that stripped them of the right to hold school districts hostage by saying that they had to buy health insurance through the teachers union’s insurance company. As a direct result, health insurance costs to school districts dropped dramatically…until the ABACA was semi-implemented.
Whether you call it the TEA Party movement, Irish Democracy or whether it’s just doing what President Reagan believed in, it’s time for conservatives to elect someone that actually wants the people to decide what’s best for them. We don’t need another administration that thinks it’s supremely qualified to tell families what’s best for them.
Yesterday, I wrote this post highlighting Paul Thissen’s reaction to my post about how unions didn’t build the middle class. The activists in the MOB, aka the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers, aren’t unlike NATO in that, an attack against one is an attack against all of us. When they saw that Speaker Thissen had taken issue with my post, Mitch Berg and the Lady Logician jumped into the discussion. Here’s how the Lady Logician responded to Speaker Thissen’s tweets:
You misrepresent the smaller gov’t policy stance to mean no govt & that is simply NOT what small gov’t ppl want. No one is arguing against roads & education but when govt gets in2 the minutia of telling ppl what lightbulbs 2 buy or what HEALTHCARE to buy or whether or not they can own a specific type of dog, then we are going to argue.
Here’s Mitch’s response to one of Speaker Thissen’s tweets:
The evidence is, in fact, that gov’t research *follows* corp. innovation. Ditto education. Not other way around.
Mitch wasn’t done schooling Speaker Thissen. Here’s the rest of Mitch’s tweets to Speaker Thissen:
So did gov’t build roads out of pure goodwill? Or did biz pay for them? You’re saying government is the only body that can give us clean water? Record shows that’s untrue. Most municipal water systems in the US *started* as private enterprises. Nearly a quarter still are. The “gov’t brings us all riches” argument is the black/white one. Markets, not politics, deal well with nuance. Either is “private enterprise is lost without government”. Or rather it’s a fallacious place to start the conversation. At best, it’s “assisted” by gov’t. But the idea that prosperity follows infrastructure is utterly ahistorical.
That’s a typical Mitch-slap. Spoeaker Thissen probably didn’t realize conservatives were this principled about free markets and limited government. The reality is that Speaker Thissen didn’t address why he thinks government is equipped to run a complex online health insurance business for the entire state. That’s essentially what MNsure is. (That isn’t just my opinion. It’s what Jim Nobles said on Almanac last Friday.)
Was government responding to free markets when they passed legislation that specified what types of lightbulbs could be used? Why did government inject itself into the discussion as to what dogs were legal in Minnesota? Was there an outbreak of dog violence against people? Or were they just inserting themselves into an issue because they were reacting to one of their special interest allies? I’m pretty certain it’s the latter.
Speaker Thissen’s tweet that questioned whether people could get to their jobs or companies could move their goods without public roads dovetails with President Obama’s now-infamous statement that entrepreneurs didn’t build their companies, that government did. That’s BS. Mitch is right in saying that government might assist entrepreneurs but government isn’t what makes businesses thrive.
The Anything But Affordable Care Act is a perfect example of how twisted leftist thinking is. I wrote here about how MNsure made things worse for one Minnesota family:
This Minnesota family is a young married couple with three children. Until ObamaCare and Dayton’s MNsure came along they shared the cost of their Blue Cross-Blue Shield family health insurance policy 50/50 with the father’s employer. Thanks to ObamaCare, the cost of that policy sky rocketed and is no longer affordable to the family. After endless hours of working with MNsure, here is what resulted.
Without the parent’s consent, MNsure jammed their three children onto government insurance. The children are now covered by Medicaid at no cost to the family or employer, but 100 percent cost to the taxpayers. The father had to go with a single insurance plan from his employer and purchase a separate new policy for his wife. Because of the confusion and disarray at MNsure, neither he nor his wife currently has health insurance ID cards for the insurance they have already paid for.
That’s why limited government conservatives complain about government overstepping their constitutional authority. Additionally, this shows government isn’t capable of running a business.
In other words, government should get its claws out of the things it isn’t qualified to do and focus on the things that constitutions limits it to. Limited government conservatives don’t hate government, even though that’s the propaganda that ABM and other leftist propaganda organizations spread. It’s that we understand that the best decisions for families happen at a family’s kitchen table.
It’s time Speaker Thissen figured that out.
Technorati: Paul Thissen, Nanny State, Anything But Affordable Care Act, MNsure, Transportation, Water Treatment Facilities, DFL, Limited Government Conservatism, Free Markets, Entrepreneurship, Capitalism, MNGOP
Jeb Bush’s education reform agenda, outlined in this article, starts with the declaration that “The best solution to our nation’s failing educational system is empowering parents.” I don’t disagree with that. It’s that I can’t figure out what empowering parents has to do with implementing Common Core School Standards. Gov. Bush is a big proponent of CCSS.
Consumer choice created the most innovative and powerful economy in the world. Choice makes computers cheaper, images sharper, cars safer, and services faster.
Choice rewards success and weeds out stagnation, inefficiency, and failure.
This is why school choice is critical to the education-reform movement, and why National School Choice Week, which began this Sunday, January 26, is more than just a proclamation. It is a call to action for one of our most cherished principles.
How is it that parents have a say over every aspect of their children’s lives, yet often must delegate the critical decision of where they go to school to political boards and government bureaucracies? This has created an education monopoly that spurns accountability, views innovation as a threat, and prioritizes the job security of employees over the learning of children.
School choice won’t matter if CCSS is adopted because everything will be written at the national level. That means a one-size-fits-all curriculum from coast to coast and border to border.
Text books are already getting ‘adapted’ to fit CCSS. In Bill Gates’ and Jeb Bush’s worlds, adapting text books to that day’s prevailing political correctness is more important than publishing text books that teach students the truth about American history. History books that fit into CCSS’s accepted category preach victimization, not American exceptionalism.
I’m not advocating for only teaching students that America is exceptional. My first criteria is that the truth be told, warts and all, in as great of detail as is applicable to the students’ grade level.
CCSS proponents repeat the mantra that it’s been adopted by state governments. That’s misleading at best. In most instances, it’s been implemented without legislative approval. It was adopted when the executive branch applied for Race to the Top (RttP) funding, effectively bypassing the other political branch of government.
Without people providing checks and balances, systems get corrupted. If you doubt that, how’s HealthCare.gov working out for you? This George Will column highlights why CCSS must be rejected:
At any time, it is more likely there will be half a dozen innovative governors than one creative federal education bureaucracy. And the mistakes made by top-down federal reforms are continental mistakes.
Universalism should be rejected ASAP. That’s because one-size-fits-all approaches a) don’t work and b) aren’t what the people want.
I agree with Gov. Bush that school choice is imperative to improving this nation’s educational system. Unfortunately, his advocacy for CCSS is as counterproductive to school choice as it is detrimental to students.
President Obama and his apologists have alternated between calling their health ‘reform’ legislation the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare or “the health law” depending on what the focus groups say works best. Republicans should simplify matters by calling it what it is. The moniker that fits best is the Anything But Affordable Care Act.
This article doesn’t deal with new names for this terrible law. It just talks about the terrible effects it’s having on people:
“When the Affordable Care Act came out with this mandate, the initial reaction was, ‘OK, we’re doing that already for the most part,’” said Brandon Nelson, director of labor relations and benefits for Anoka-Hennepin District 11.
But “the penalties get your attention, so we’re just making sure,” he said.
The district is analyzing employee data over a 12-month look-back period to determine which employees currently work more than 30 hours and are not offered health insurance from the district.
As the largest school district in the state, Anoka-Hennepin has nearly 6,000 employees; 145 of them, about 2.5 percent, are full-time employees and are not offered health insurance from the district, according to Nelson.
Of those employees, Nelson estimates that the district will offer 75 of them insurance by 2015 and adjust assignments for the remaining 70 to ensure they are working less than 30 hours each week.
That’s the first part of the statistics. Here’s the most troubling of the statistics:
The district typically contributes $648 each month toward single health insurance plans and no more than $1,042 per month on family plans. If employee counts and insurance pricing stay constant, the district could incur anywhere from $583,200 to $937,800 in additional expenditures next year if all 75 employees elect to get insurance through the district.
That the Anoka-Hennepin district is thinking they’ll see an additional “$583,200 to $937,800 in additional expenditures” should send the signal to taxpayers that their property taxes will jump significantly. That’s the type of thing that will quickly sink the Anything But Affordable Care Act.
That’s a newly mentioned problem for the bill. Already, young people visiting the MNsure website are noticing that their insurance premiums are a rip-off. Young families are noticing that their insurance situation just got dramatically worse. If that isn’t terrible enough, the Anything But Affordable Care Act apparently will lead to higher property taxes, too.
Whether you’re Sen. Franken who voted for this bill or Gov. Dayton who campaigned for creating the MNsure monstrosity or the DFL legislators who voted for the legislation creating the health insurance exchange, the reality is the same. The Anything But Affordable Care Act will force school districts across the state to raise property taxes while cutting some of their employees’ hours.
Let’s see the DFL explain that mess away.
Technorati: Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, Anything But Affordable Care Act, Al Franken, Mark Dayton, Health Insurance Exchange, School Districts, Property Tax Increases, Middle Class Squeeze, DFL, Election 2014
I’ve written here frequently about foolish people writing for the St. Cloud Times. This time, I get to write about Dr. Roy Saigo’s wise words, mostly because they’re the skills I learned as a supervisor at Fingerhut. Here’s something Dr. Saigo said that I can relate to:
The second thing Collins emphasizes is the most effective CEO is not a celebrity. If the boss is a celebrity, then you have “one genius and 1,000 helpers.” He talks about CEOs who tell the media they are going to produce the best products, be the best grocery chain, university, football team, etc. Yet, successful companies build their businesses with practical, achievable goals and little fanfare. I call this accountability.
Part of my training to be a supervisor was a class called Interaction Management. One of the things that IM emphasized was identifying key principles. These key principles could be anything from getting a simple job done that takes little time to empowering workers to master a multi-faceted responsibility that might take 3-4 hours.
At Fingerhut then, the key to accomplishing important responsibilities wasn’t about instructing the employee what he or she needed to do. It was about telling them about their responsibilities to their co-workers and their employer. How they got from Point A to Point B wasn’t important as long as the thing got done properly and in the fastest time possible.
I tried to live by a saying I’d heard from a former night shift supervisor. His instructions to his workers was simple: make me look good in the morning. Which leads to this key paragraph in Dr. Saigo’s article:
A successful team develops a positive, can-do spirit, toughness and, most importantly, trust and a sharing of the joy of success.
Ronald Reagan once said that “It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit.” Of all of the wise things Ronald Reagan said, that sentence was consistently proven true. It’s something that others have picked up on. Superblogger Glenn Reynolds wrote a book a few years back. Appropriately, it was titled “An Army of Davids.” The key principle that Reynolds conveyed to his audience was that there were hundreds of experts just waiting to be discovered and utilized through the internet. He didn’t think that everyone on the internet was a genius. It’s just that he thought that he knew that, for every highly-publicized expert on TV, there were hundreds of experts on the internet just waiting to be found.
Reynolds’ attitude wouldn’t be possible if he was an egomaniac. Successful people have to have an ego because they couldn’t survive without it. The difference between successful people and and egomaniac is that egomaniacs are control freaks. They’re the fastest people to the microphone when there’s success. They’re also the people you won’t see admitting failure.
Reynolds couldn’t have written that book if he was a control freak because he needed to admit that there were lots of outstanding people in every discipline in the United States. Thanks to his book, lots of people were empowered.
It’s political light years away from the next presidential election season but it isn’t too early to start drafting potential GOP presidential candidates. Atop my list is Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s governor. Marc Thiessen’s article sums up Gov. Walkers qualifications perfectly:
During the 2012 recall fight in Wisconsin, a group of protesters dressed as zombies disrupted Gov. Scott Walker’s speech at a ceremony for kids participating in the Special Olympics. Walker just ignored the protesters. Afterwards, talk radio host Charlie Sykes told Walker he should have “gone Chris Christie on them.” But Walker wanted to keep the focus on the Special Olympics athletes, saying “it was their day.”
The incident is revealing. Walker and Christie, the New Jersey governor, are friends, and they have both found a way to win in purple states that have not voted for a Republican president in a quarter-century. But they each did it in very different ways.
Christie is moderate in policy, but immoderate in temperament.
Walker is moderate in temperament, but immoderate in policy.
Activists are drawn to Christie’s gruff exterior because they want a fighter. There’s no questioning whether Gov. Christie is a fighter. Still, for all his combativeness, many of his policies are what I’d expect of a New England Republican. That makes Gov. Christie significantly less appealing than Gov. Walker:
Walker is a tea party hero thanks to his courageous stand against the public-sector unions in Wisconsin. Cruz may have “faux filibustered” Obamacare, but Walker faced down 100,000 protesters outside the Capitol in Madison and won. He not only passed his reforms despite unbelievable odds, he became the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall election. He’s both a fighter and a winner, a compelling combination for the conservative base.
Moreover, Walker’s appeal to the right goes beyond collective bargaining. As governor, he passed a raft of other conservative reforms that went virtually unnoticed because of the collective-bargaining fight. He signed legislation enacting voter identification requirements, permitting the concealed carry of firearms, defunding Planned Parenthood, prohibiting any health exchange operating in Wisconsin from covering abortion, reducing taxes, expanding school choice and reforming entitlements. Walker is an across-the-board, unflinching, full-spectrum conservative.
But Walker also has a proven ability to win the votes of moderates and reform-minded independents. While Walker is often portrayed as a “divisive” figure, exit polls in the June 2012 gubernatorial recall election showed that about one in six Walker voters also planned to vote for Barack Obama in the November presidential election. And, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “those confounding Obama-Walker voters of 2012…[are] still with us.” Two separate 2013 polls of Wisconsin voters, the paper reported, show that “11% approve of both politicians.”
Put differently, Christie is the bully who supports many liberal policies like gun control and global warming. Gov. Walker has a mental toughness that can’t be questioned. He stared down the thugs in Wisconsin and won the fight for important reforms. Everyone knows about the collective bargaining rights fight. Few noticed that he got other reforms passed, too.
Most importantly, I won’t have to worry whether Gov. Walker will abandon conservatism’s core principles. He won’t. He’ll pick great judges. He’ll feature a positive pro-growth agenda. He’ll be an unapologetic conservative with a lengthy history of conservative accomplishments.
George Will noted another appealing part of Gov. Walker’s in this column:
To fight the recall, during which opponents disrupted Walker’s appearance at a Special Olympics event and squeezed Super Glue into the locks of a school he was to visit, Walker raised more than $30?million, assembling a nationwide network of conservative donors that could come in handy if he is reelected next year.
It’s great that Gov. Walker is a proven fundraiser. He’d need it if he runs against Hillary in 2016. More importantly, though, he understands the value of a strong organization.
In other words, Gov. Walker a) is an unapologetic conservative, b) has a lengthy list of conservative accomplishments, c) can rally the conservative base while still appealing to independents and d) is a prolific fundraiser. That’s quite the trifecta heading into 2016.
Politicians that underestimate the size of what might be called ‘Common Core mom’ vote do so at their peril. There’s a large and growing demographic that will have an impact on congressional and legislative races next year. People who dismiss this growing demographic will be making a major mistake. Joy Pullmann’s article highlights the growing opposition to Common Core and politicians disdain for activists who are pushing back against Common Core elitists.
Common Core lists what several committees convened within two DC-based nonprofits decided K-12 children need to learn in math and English. Although federal influence over testing and curriculum is illegal, the Obama administration has funded two other nonprofits it oversees to make national tests that will measure whether children have learned what these committees wanted. These currently unfinished tests will replace state tests in more than 40 states in 2014-15. In most states, test results influence teacher pay, personnel hiring and firing, school funding, state control over school districts, curriculum, whether students pass their grade or graduate, college acceptance, and more. Basically, Common Core touches everything in U.S. education except bus routes.
The pushback against Common Core has already started:
Common Core opponents include, as entire institutions or representatives from them, the American Principles Project, Americans for Prosperity, the Badass Teachers Association, the Brookings Institution, the Cato Institute, Class Size Matters, Eagle Forum, FreedomWorks, the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, the Goldwater Institute, the Heartland Institute (where I work), the Heritage Foundation, Hillsdale College, the Hoover Institution, Notre Dame University, the National Association of Scholars, the Pioneer Institute, Stanford University, United Opt-Out, and leaders from Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to a coalition of Catholic university scholars and teachers union darling Diane Ravitch. These organizations’ flavors range from constitutionalist to libertarian to liberal. The people making the noise are regular moms, dads, and grandparents, but they’re backed up by organizations with intellectual chops.
The pushback against the pushback has also started:
As a sampling of the disregard politicians have bestowed on thousands of ordinary people agitating against Common Core as it rolls out into schools in advance of the tests, consider the following.
Before one of these hearings in October, Ohio House Education Chairman Gerald Stebelton (R-Lancaster) told reporters Common Core critics “don’t make sense.” He also called opposition a “conspiracy theory.” In Wisconsin the same month, state Sen. John Lehman (D-Racine) told a packed audience their hearings were “crazy” and “a show,” and asked, “What are we doing here?” When Michigan’s legislature reinstated Common Core funding after several hearings, State Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw County) said, “[W]e’ve marginalized, quite frankly, the anti-crowd into a very minute number.” Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D) has called opponents a “distract[ing]” “fringe movement.”
Those statements drip with elitist I-know-what’s-best’ contempt for “regular moms, dads and grandparents.” That type of elitist attitude almost automatically leads to a revolt:
Thousands of New York parents and teachers have attended public forums to protest Common Core this fall. At the first of 16 state-sponsored townhalls on the topic, state education Commissioner John King was booed after talking over parents repeatedly and giving the large, angry audience 20 minutes to ask questions after a two-hour presentation. After the meeting, King declared the forum was “co-opted by special interests whose stated goal is to ‘dominate’ the questions and manipulate the forum.” So he canceled the rest. After calls for his resignation, King announced new, invite-only forums.
If you think the health care town halls in August, 2009 were spirited, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The people in these audiences are from a much wider political spectrum, meaning they’re drawing from a significantly bigger pool of activists than the TEA Party ever did.
Further, though elitists like Jeb Bush and Arne Duncan think poorly of Common Core opposition activists, that doesn’t mean these Common Core moms votes don’t count just as much as these elitists’ votes count for. It’s worth noting that these activists will show up on Election Night 2014. Every elitist comment from Commissioner King, Gov. Bush or Secretary Duncan just activates these voters more.
In presidential election years, elitists can get away with their snobbishness to a certain extent. In mid-term elections, elitists can’t get away with their snobbishness because blue collar workers make up a bigger percentage of the voters showing up.
Follow this link to find out why Common Core needs to be abolished from schools nationwide.
This article is frightening on multiple levels. First, here’s what happened that started this disaster:
Canyon High School, based in Anaheim Hills, issued an apology to 16-year-old Haley Bullwinkle, a student there, after first telling her that a T-shirt she wore to school violated its dress code policy on clothes depicting and promoting violence. The garment in question: a T-shirt with a photo of the American flag and a hunter, along with the words, “National Rifle Association of America, Protecting America’s Traditions Since 1871.”
It never occurred to the sophomore that the shirt she grabbed when she was running late for school a couple of weeks ago would land her in trouble with officials. But Bullwinkle was confronted by a security guard outside of class and told she had to change her shirt or face a suspension. She cooperated and wore a top the school provided for the duration of the day, but the incident frightened the teenager, and outraged her parents.
Simply put, Canyon High School tried to prevent Ms. Bullwinkle from exercising her First Amendment rights. At least the school apologized. Plenty of schools wouldn’t have done even that much.
This is the frightening part:
Calls from Yahoo Shine to principal Kimberly Fricker and superintendent Michael Christensen weren’t returned, but Fricker did apologize to the Bullwinkle family. Superintendent Christensen also released a statement saying, “Campus staff will be trained so that an incident like this does not occur again.”
Here’s a radical thought. Instead of putting the staff through training, perhaps schools should just teach the Constitution as part of each year’s history class. After teaching the Constitution, it’d be appropriate to then teach students, and apparently faculty, staff and administration, about the Bill of Rights. (Students could even earn extra credit for reading the Federalist Papers.)
The class could be taught by KrisAnne Hall through a Skype connection. I’d bet she’d be willing to teach students, faculty, staff and administration about the history of the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, the various state conventions and the documents that the Founding Fathers used to write the Constitution.
With that type of class being taught for an entire quarter, the chuckleheads who tried to silence Ms. Bullwinkle wouldn’t need additional training because they’d know censorship is one of the worst violations of the First Amendment.
Technorati: Haley Bullwinkle, First Amendment, Speech Codes, Canyon High School, Censorship, Constitution, Bill of Rights, Federalist Papers, Founding Fathers, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, History
This op-ed calls out the DFL, starting with Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk and Speaker Thissen, for telling whoppers about repaying the school shift. Dan Fabian’s and Deb Kiel’s op-ed is a shot across Gov. Dayton’s bow:
So, when Gov. Mark Dayton and Democratic leaders recently declared their one-party control led to the state making good on $2.5 billion in delayed K-12 school payments, we stopped dead in our tracks, totally astonished.
Now, people who know us gather we are reasonable people. We don’t like to get into partisan politics, but in this instance, we felt the need to set the record straight to what we view as one of the more egregious examples of political misrepresentation.
Rep. Fabian and Rep. Kiel won’t say it this harshly but I will. Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk and Speaker Thissen lied through their teeth. (I first wrote about this in this post.) Here’s what the DFL press release admitted:
Governor Mark Dayton, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, House Speaker Paul Thissen, Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter, and Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius announced that Minnesota schools were repaid an additional $636 million at the end of the 2013 fiscal year.
The budget that was in place through the end of FY2013 was passed by the GOP legislature after a lengthy shutdown caused by Gov. Dayton. Credit for paying off $636,000,000 of the school shift rightly belongs to the GOP legislature, first because their budget created a healthy surplus and secondly, because the GOP legislature said no to the greedy fingers of the DFL’s special interests.
Here’s some verifiable facts for Gov. Dayton, Speaker Thissen and Sen. Bakk to digest:
From the previous Legislature, we inherited a $5 billion deficit, including a $2 billion school shift. A “shift” simply means that payments to K-12 schools are delayed to a later date in order to provide a one-time savings to the state without actually reducing education appropriations.
As we wrestled to balance a historic deficit and out-of-control spending, we and our legislative colleagues called for holding the line on taxes and controlling state spending; on the other hand, Dayton called for large tax increases to fix the deficit.
During compromise negotiations, Dayton was first to float the idea of delaying school payments to an even later date. Ultimately, as part of the 2011 budget agreement with the governor, the amount owed in deferred payments to schools grew to $2.7 billion.
In other words, the DFL had little, if anything, to do with accelerating the paying off of the school shift. Rep. Thissen didn’t vote for the budget Gov. Dayton grudgingly signed. Sen. Bakk didn’t vote for the budget that Gov. Dayton grudgingly signed, either.
It’s pretty pathetic to see 3 people attempting to take credit for something they shut down the government to prevent. That’s the sad truth of this episode. Here’s what the Democrats said about the GOP budget:
Hardworking Minnesotans responded well to the budget that didn’t tax them, and revenues coming in to the state were consistently higher than expected. Record numbers of businesses popped up, and the unemployment rate continued to drop.
In April 2012, Dayton vetoed the Legislature’s move to pay back more than $2 billion in delayed K-12 payments. With this veto, Dayton said, “This is what I think is right for Minnesota.”
Vetoing a bill that would’ve paid off the vast majority of the school shift, then taking credit for paying off the school shift with the money from a budget they didn’t want belongs in the theater of the absurd. It’s pathetically fitting that Democrats would take credit for something they didn’t want anything to do with.
By this point, the 2011 fiscally responsible budget had produced nearly $3.4 billion in cumulative budget surpluses. Of this, about $2.5 billion has been applied to the school shift, leaving only about $238 million from the 2010 DFL-led Legislature.
During the 2013 session, our DFL colleagues enacted a special provision that allowed them to use the remaining budget surplus of $636 million and put it toward the remaining school shift.
Now, Gov. Dayton and legislative leaders who decried the 2011 budget are taking credit for its benefits. We have to admit, it’s a shrewd move and politically savvy. But it’s not honest.
The words honesty and Democrats fit together as nicely as ‘government shutdown’ and ‘respectful of veterans’.
Gov. Dayton and the Democratic legislature fought against paying off the school shift. Democratic legislators voted in lockstep against the GOP to repay the shift. Gov. Dayton vetoed the bill that would’ve paid off $2,500,000,000 of the school shift. Those are verifiable, irrefutable facts.
Gov. Dayton and the Democratic legislature should be ashamed of lying this blatantly about who paid off the school shift.
UPDATE: Sen. Nienow just emailed me this clip from this September’s special session. In the video, Sen. Bakk admits that the school shift wasn’t in the DFL’s budget. Further, Sen. Bakk made clear that paying off the final $238,000,000 would rely on whether sufficient revenues came in. Finally, Sen. Bakk sounded anything but clear on whether there was enough money to repeal the DFL’s mistake taxes, aka the B2B sales taxes on farm equipment repairs, telecommunications purchases and the warehousing services sales tax.
Technorati: K-12 Education, School Shift, Mark Dayton, Paul Thissen, Tom Bakk, DFL, Dan Fabian, Deb Kiel, School Shift Repayment, Rainy Day Fund, MNGOP
The first thing I thought after reading this article was whether the media outlet just reprinted a DFL press release. Here’s the opening to the DFL-issued statement:
St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) — Nearly $2.6 billion of the $2.8 billion borrowed from Minnesota schools has been repaid under the leadership of Governor Dayton and the DFL Legislature.
Governor Mark Dayton, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, House Speaker Paul Thissen, Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter, and Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius announced that Minnesota schools were repaid an additional $636 million at the end of the 2013 fiscal year.
Talk about chutzpah. That’s breathtakingly arrogant. First, the DFL’s all taxes budget didn’t go into effect until the start of the 2014 fiscal year. Further, the DFL legislature voted against the K-12 Education Omnibus bill. DFL senators didn’t vote for it. DFL representatives didn’t vote for it. Gov. Dayton signed it but only after he shut state government down for several weeks.
The GOP, thanks to the hard work of Pat Garofalo, Sondra Erickson and others, put together a fiscally responsible budget that produced a surplus. That surplus was used to refill Minnesota’s rainy day fund before being used to pay down the school shift.
Under the leadership of Governor Dayton and the DFL legislature, Minnesota has now repaid nearly $2.6 billion of the $2.8 billion that was previously borrowed from our schools.
“Last spring, the DFL legislature and I passed the first responsible state budget in more than a decade,” said Governor Dayton. “This additional repayment of the state’s debt to our schools marks another step toward a clean fiscal slate, from which we will build a better Minnesota.”
First, raising spending by $3,000,000,000, then recklessly increasing taxes and fees by $2,400,000,000 isn’t a responsible budget. Next, the money that repaid the school shift came from the budget that the GOP passed.
“Schools across Minnesota were put under enormous financial stress by the Republican school shift, and paying back every penny remains a priority in the Senate,” said Senator Bakk. “This repayment, along with the significant investments in education approved last session, further strengthens the state’s partnership with local school districts.”
The DFL legislature touts itself as ‘the Education Legislature’. It’s nothing of the sort. It’s the enemy of school reform. I wrote here about how the DFL gutted the education reforms that the GOP put into place. Here’s language from the GOP bill:
“The board must adopt rules requiring a person to pass a skills examination in reading, writing, and mathematics as a requirement for initial teacher licensure. Such rules must require colleges and universities offering a board-approved teacher preparation program to provide remedial assistance to persons who did not achieve a qualifying score on the skills examination, including those for whom English is a second language.”
Here’s language from the DFL bill that gutted the GOP’s accountability-oriented reform:
The board must adopt rules to approve teacher preparation programs. The board, upon the request of a postsecondary student preparing for teacher licensure or a licensed graduate of a teacher preparation program, shall assist in resolving a dispute between the person and a postsecondary institution providing a teacher preparation program when the dispute involves an institution’s recommendation for licensure affecting the person or the person’s credentials. At the board’s discretion, assistance may include the application of chapter 14.
The DFL bill doesnt’ require teachers to pass a test on their competency to teach a class. If the DFL wants to brag about gutting teacher accountability requirements, I won’t object.
A decade of cuts, shifts, and gimmicks caused Minnesota to lurch from one budget crisis to the next, limiting the state’s ability to fund education and job creation. This year, the Governor and DFL legislature put an end to roller-coaster deficits with a fair and balanced budget that put Minnesota on sound fiscal footing and delivered key investments in education.
Again, this isn’t an editorial. It’s an actual ‘news story’. At least, that’s what it purports to be. It’s more like a DFL press release.